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Urine infection


The urinary tract infection is a condition that must be treated in time to prevent renal complications. Find out how to identify it correctly.

Urine infection: causes, symptoms and treatment

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs responsible for processing up to 190 liters of blood daily to eliminate waste and excess water. These fluids and toxins become urine, which transits to the bladder through the ureter ducts to later be eliminated from the human body.

Urine infection is caused by the penetration of microorganisms into the urinary tract. When bacteria are found in the urethra, the infection is considered to be lodged outside the urinary tract, however, there is the possibility that pathogens will spread through the bloodstream and infect the kidneys. Recognizing a urine infection in time is important to treat it correctly and prevent kidney complications, for this reason in this eHealth article we tell you everything you need to know about urine infection: causes, symptoms and treatment.

What characterizes the presence of lower urinary tract infection is the appearance of voiding syndrome, that is, symptoms that indicate irritation of the same; The appearance of dysuria (pain with urination) is frequent , which is usually greater at the end of it, as well as pain or tenderness on palpation in the lower abdomen. The presence of frequency (increased frequency of urination) is also frequent , although with less volume each time, with a sensation of urgency (urgent need to urinate) and even incontinence. Sometimes hematuria (blood in the urine) also appears, which is more common in women.

What is a urine infection?

Urinary tract infection is a condition that occurs when certain pathogens invade some part of the urinary tract, the route of elimination of urine from its formation in the kidney. The infection can take place in different places, such as:

  • Bladder: This type of infection is known as cystitis or bladder infection.
  • Kidneys: When a urine infection affects the kidneys, it is known as pyelonephritis .
  • Urethra: This condition is known as urethritis and occurs in the tube that carries urine to the outside.
  • Ureters: The ureters are the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. This type of infection is less common than the previous ones.

This route is totally sterile from the kidney to the bladder, only the last part of the urethra is a carrier of saprophytic bacteria, which are variable according to the age, sex and associated pathology of the individual. There are several factors that cause other germs to colonize the urinary tract, thus causing an infection.

Infection of the lower urinary tract (UTI), that is, the bladder and / or urethra, by unusual germs, generally gram-negative bacilli that are part of the normal microbial balance of the intestine.

Urinary tract infection is, after respiratory tract infections, the one that occurs most frequently in our environment.

In most cases, the urinary infection spreads from the urethra to the bladder because the urethra is more exposed to the outside and, therefore, it is easier to come into contact with bacteria. When the infection is lodged in the kidney, the bacteria have ascended from the ureters to one of the two organs; This type of infection usually occurs when a urethral infection has not been properly treated. Urine infection is one of the most common reasons people go to the emergency room with a fever .

Women are more likely to have a UTI than men due to the anatomy of their private parts. A urine infection can go unnoticed, especially if it lodges in the urethra. However, when bacteria have infected the bladder or kidneys, very uncomfortable symptoms can occur.

Production Mechanism

The main route of access for germs to cause urinary tract infection is the ascending route; germs from the intestinal flora , due to their close anatomical proximity, colonize the vagina and the urethra, which is shorter in women, to later penetrate the bladder and, on occasions, continue through the upper urinary tract to the kidney. In men, the greater length of the urethra, and the bactericidal action (destruction of bacteria) of the prostate secretion, seem to act as an effective barrier against UTI, a fact that could explain the higher incidence of these episodes in women.

Other forms of transmission, although much less frequent, are the hematogenous route and the lymphatic route.

To better understand how a urinary infection affects the body and recognize this condition in time, it is necessary to know what each of the urinary infections consists of, their causes, symptoms and treatments. Therefore, below, we will address UTIs separately and not as a single condition.

Types of urinary infection


Cystitis is an infection in the urethra or lower urinary tract caused by germs. This infection, if not controlled in time, can easily spread to the kidneys and cause pyelonephritis. When bacteria enter the urethra, most of the time, the body gets rid of them through the expulsion of urine. When cystitis occurs, it is because these pathogens have attached themselves to the walls of the bladder or urethra and multiply so quickly that they can form colonies and remain there for a long time.

Since the urethra in women is much shorter and closer to the anus, females are at higher risk of cystitis than males. Also, sexual intercourse and the use of a diaphragm for birth control increase the risk of contracting this type of urinary infection. Other factors are also associated with this type of condition:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Blockage in the bladder or urethra.
  • Use of a urinary catheter.
  • Enlarged prostate.
  • Urinary incontinence .
  • Pregnancy.
  • Advanced age.
  • Retention of urine or problems emptying the bladder.
  • Hold the urge to urinate.

Symptoms of cystitis

  • Cloudy or bloody urine.
  • Foul smell of urine.
  • Pain or burning when urinating.
  • Feeling of wanting to urinate after having urinated.
  • Pressure in the lower abdomen and pain in the lower back.
  • Mental changes or confusion in people over 65 years of age.

Cystitis treatment

Cystitis is a condition that can be diagnosed by its symptoms and through a urine test and urine culture. The culture will shed the type of bacteria that the person is infected with and the antibiotic drugs to which the pathogen is sensitive.

Depending on the type and amount of bacteria that cause cystitis, antibiotics should be taken between 3 and 15 days. The goal of treatment is to kill bacteria and prevent the infection from spreading to the kidneys. It is important to mention to the medical specialist if you are in the gestation period and, more importantly, comply with the treatment to the letter, since if a urine infection is not cured correctly the condition can worsen considerably and require the administration of antibiotics intravenously.

You may also be interested in:   Intestinal parasites


Pyelnophritis is a urinary infection that occurs when certain bacteria have infected a kidney, or both. This condition is quite delicate, since it can put the correct functioning of the renal system at risk. Pyelonephritis usually occurs as a result of an infection in the urethra or bladder that has spread to the organs of the renal system. However, this condition can also occur suddenly due to the presence of kidney stones, obstructive uropathy, or kidney necrosis . People with recurrent UTIs are at increased risk for pyelonephritis.

Symptoms of pyelonephritis

  • Pronounced pain in the side or lower back.
  • Hot, clammy, or red skin.
  • Cloudy urine color .
  • Foul odor when urinating.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Fever.
  • Shaking chills.
  • Pain when urinating
  • Imminent feeling of urination after you have emptied your bladder.
  • Mental changes or confusion in the elderly.

Pyelonephritis treatment

Pyelonephritis can be diagnosed through a blood test, urine test, urine culture, and ultrasound of the kidneys. The treatment of this disease requires the administration of intravenous as well as analgesics to change the pain and antipyretics to control the temperature. In general, due to the seriousness that this condition represents for kidney health, people with pyelonephritis are hospitalized, monitored and treated intravenously. The person will be discharged once the levels of white blood cells in the blood and urine return to normal. However, in most cases the person must rest for 15 days and keep taking antibiotics for that time.


Urethritis is inflammation and irritation of the urethra caused mainly by infection with bacteria. This condition usually occurs when a person becomes infected with the bacteria Escherichia coli, the same pathogen that causes chlamydia, gonorrhea, and most urinary tract infections. However, the herpes simplex virus and cytomegalovirus are also causative factors of urethritis. Other causes of urethritis are:

  • Injury to the urethra.
  • Sensitivity to certain chemicals used in soaps or contraceptives.
  • To be a woman.
  • Be a man and be between 20 and 35 years old.
  • Have multiple sexual partners.
  • Anal sex.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases.

Symptoms of urethritis

  • Presence of blood in urine or semen.
  • Sharp pain when urinating.
  • Frequent urination and feeling that the bladder is not empty.
  • Fever.
  • Penis tenderness, swelling, or itching.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the groin.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Vaginal discharge

Treatment of urethritis

To diagnose urethritis in men it will be necessary to perform examinations of the pelvic area, abdomen, penis and scrotum. In some cases, a digital rectal exam will be necessary. In women the diagnosis should be determined through pelvic and abdominal examinations.

Treatment of urethritis aims to treat the infection, relieve symptoms, and prevent bacteria from spreading to the kidneys. For this, the medical specialist will prescribe antibiotic and analgesic medications. It is important that during treatment the person avoid sexual intercourse and his partner should also be treated to combat this condition. When urethritis is chronic, the person will likely need to take antibiotics for at least 6 weeks.

Risk factors for urine infection

Generally, everyone will get a urine infection in their lifetime. This condition is very common, however, there are some factors that make a person more prone to suffer from this condition than others, let’s see what they are:

  • Being a woman: women have much shorter urethra than men, which makes it easier for bacteria to penetrate the urinary tract.
  • Sex: having a new sexual partner or having constant sexual relations in a short time increases the risk of contracting a urine infection.
  • Contraceptives: The use of contraceptives such as the diaphragm or spermicides is also considered a risk factor for a UTI.
  • Menopause : The decrease in estrogen causes changes in the urinary tract that put a woman at greater risk of contracting an infection.
  • Urinary tract abnormalities – Birth problems that prevent urine from being passed regularly.
  • Obstructions in the urinary tract: Kidney stones or prostatitis can hold urine inside the body and cause an infection.
  • Immune system: Conditions such as diabetes depress the immune system and make the body more vulnerable to defend itself against bacteria.
  • Catheter: People who need a catheter to be able to expel urine properly are at high risk for recurrent infections.

How to prevent a urine infection

  • Ingesting a large amount of water daily is of great help to help the body expel accumulated toxins in the urine and thus reduce the amount of bacteria in the urinary tract. Good kidney function depends largely on the amount of water a person ingests daily.
  • Cranberry Juice: Cranberries have been shown to have properties to stimulate urination and detoxify the urinary tract of malignant bacteria.
  • Proper hygiene: Escherichia coli is the bacteria that most often causes urinary infections. This bacteria is found in the intestines, for this reason it is vital to clean the intimate parts from front to back, in order not to drag the bacteria towards the urethra.
  • Do not hold the urge to urinate: emptying the bladder in a relevant way allows the bacteria that are housed within the urinary tract to be eliminated from the body and combat inflammation of the urinary tract.
  • Avoid the use of certain products: using soaps, showers, gels or deodorants with irritating ingredients such as perfume increases the risk of infection.

In the case of anatomical or other alterations that favor the appearance of the infection, it will be necessary to influence not only the antibiotic treatment, but also the treatment of these processes, to reduce the appearance of infections.

On the other hand, in the case of the existence of multiple episodes without a clear trigger, continued treatment with low-dose antibiotics may be indicated as prophylaxis according to pre-established guidelines.

It is essential, of course, proper hygiene in the area.

Treatment of the episode of a urinary tract infection must be preceded by adequate confirmation, so that when the symptoms described above appear, a doctor should be consulted for an adequate assessment.


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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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