Friday, March 21, 2014

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

About 10 to 20 percent of women will develop a urinary tract infection (UTI) at some point in their lives. Cystitis (a bladder infection) is a common type of UTI, and is far more prevalent among women than men. It is reported to be one of the most frequent medical complaints among women in their reproductive years.

Causes and Symptoms
The urinary system helps to eliminate waste products and maintain proper water and salt balance in the body. The waste products are filtered from circulating blood by the kidneys, which are attached to the bladder by thin tubes called the ureters. The bladder is responsible for storing urine, which then flows out of the body through another tube called the urethra.
Normally, the bladder is sterile - completely free of bacteria and other infectious organisms. When an infection occurs, it is typically found in either the lower urinary tract - affecting the bladder and urethra - or the upper urinary tract, which affects the kidneys and ureters. When an organism invades the urinary tract, it enters by one of two routes: the lower end of the urinary tract or through the bloodstream.

Bacterial infections arising from the lower tract are very common, particularly among women, whose urinary anatomy makes them much more susceptible than men. The bacteriumEscherichia coli (E. Coli) is responsible for most urinary tract infections. E. Coli is actually harmless in the small intestine where it normally resides, but becomes a problem when it spreads to the urinary tract.