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Urinary tract infection

infecció d'orina Vall d'Hebron

 

A urinary tract infection is defined as the presence of invasive bacteria in the urinary system, together with signs of inflammation, such as high temperature and local pain.

Urinary tract infections may be located in the lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra), or the upper urinary system, affecting one or both kidneys. A kidney infection is also known as pyelonephritis. 

 

 

Description

Infections of the lower urinary tract are characterised by localised pain, which increases when urinating, and sometimes by cloudy or dark urine, usually without high temperatures.

Kidney infections (pyelonephritis) are characterised by high temperatures, acute local pain in the lower back, and pain or irritation when urinating.

 

Symptoms

Urinary tract infection is characterised by the presence of local pain (lower abdomen or lumbar region), which increases when urinating. The urine is often cloudy, or dark if it contains blood. There may be high fever, especially in the case of pyelonephritis (an infection of the upper urinary tract).

 

 

Who is affected by the condition?

It can affect people at any age, from early childhood to old age. It is more frequent among women and there are factors that make people vulnerable to it (pregnancy for women and enlarged prostate for men) as well as urological anomalies (pre-existing malformation or presence of kidney stones).

 

Diagnosis

Urinary infections are diagnosed by examining urine under the microscope (sediment) to see whether it contains white blood cells and/or bacteria, and by cultivating the bacteria in a microbiological culture to identify the strain and determine the most appropriate antibiotic for treatment (antibiotic susceptibility testing).

 

Standard treatment

Urinary tract infections are usually treated with antibiotics. Treatment is oral in the case of lower-tract infection.

For upper-tract infections (pyelonephritis) it is usually intravenous, although in some cases outpatient oral treatment may be administered.

 

Standard tests

The standard tests are urine sediment and culture (urine culture with antibiotic susceptibility testing). An ultrasound scan may be indicated for examining the kidney and urinary tract and identifying obstructions or kidney stones that may have brought about the infection.

Ultrasounds are also used to assess the state of the kidneys. A general analysis may also be indicated to see how the urinary tract infection is affecting the rest of the body, and specifically the renal function.

 

Prevention 

Urinary tract infection can be prevented by frequent urination (every 2 to 3 hours) and, above all, by avoiding the habit of holding in urine, and by going to the toilet whenever the bladder feels full, without waiting too long.

 

 


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