The urinary tract is composed of different parts including the kidney, urethra, ureters and urinary bladder. Human beings have two kidneys that help in body excretion and blood purification. The kidney is usually brown in color and has a small size of around 10-12 cm. The outer cover of the kidney is called the renal capsule (Baskin & Kogan 38).
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The renal capsule is tough because it has fibrous tissues on its surfaces. The capsules are covered by two layers of fat to cushion the kidneys from any form of shock. There is also the urethra which is a muscular tube used to remove different wastes including urine from our bodies.
The system also has the ureters that help to remove urine to the bladder. The bladder has several valves that help to prevent the backward of urine to the ureter (Kunin 46).The urinary bladder is a void, well-built elastic reproductive organ that is placed on the pelvic floor. The kidneys have functional units known as nephrons. The nephrons in the body help to regulate water and other soluble substances in the body (Pappas 64).
The kidney contains numerous glomerulis that help in the purification of blood in the body (Pappas 67). The glomerulus is loop of capillary tuft and receives incoming blood from arterioles.
Function of the Urinary System
The urinary system plays an important role of excretion in the body. Although the main function of the urinary tract is excretion, it has other functions that include like:
- Regulation of plasma in the form of ionic composition
- Maintaining osmolarity of plasma
- Maintaining the volume of plasma
- Maintenance of the hydrogen ionic concentration of plasma
- Secretion of hormones
Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections are diseases caused by pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, and infectious parasites. Experts recommend that the use of specified terms when referring to particular urinary infections (Baskin & Kogan 39). For example, an infection affecting the urethritis is urethra infection.
Urinary tract infections are common in women than in men. The infections can harm different body organs and cause death. Any damage on the kidneys will affect other parts of the body and processes associated to the kidney. For instance, kidneys play a huge role of regulating substances and water in the body, excretion of wastes, and production of body hormones (Baskin & Kogan 63). Any injury to the kidney can potentially affect many processes in the human body.
According to statistics, UTIs are common among women than men. Females between 16 and 30 years of age have a high risk of getting these infections. Currently, 10 per cent of women have UTIs. The infections may reoccur from time to time depending on hygiene. According to research findings, women are four times prone to urinary infections than men. At childhood stage, statistics show that 10 per cent of people get STI infections. Non-circumcised males have a higher chance of contracting the infections (Baskin & Kogan 57).
Causes of UTIs
Researchers have identified a number of organisms known to cause urinary tract infections. The leading cause of these infections is Escherichia coli and accounts for more than 80 per cent of the infections. About 80 per cent of urinary tract infections are caused by bacterium known as E. coli. The bacterial strains occur in the colon.
Other bacteria strains that cause infection like Mycoplasma, Pseudomonas, Proteus, and Staphylococcus species (Baskin & Kogan 57). In addition, there are UTIs resulting from fungi like Cryptococcus and Candida fungal species. Some parasites like Schistosoma and Trichomonas also cause urinary tract infections. Proper treatment for urinary tract infection depends on the knowledge of these causing organisms.
The signs and symptoms of urinary tract infections differ from one person to another. This depends on gender, age and the location of infection (Davey 72). In advances cases of urinary infections, the individual has severe when urinating. Another sign of urinary infection is the change in urine color from clear to cloudy. Sometimes the urine may reddish when there is presence of blood (West 99).
Any unpleasant smell from urine can be another sign of urinary infections and therefore immediate medication is necessary. Some women infected with urinary diseases may complain of increased abdominal pains or feel fatigued and tired. Vaginal discharge can also be a common sign of urinary infection in women. Urinary discharges occur when the Urethra is infected, or the individual has contracted STDs.
In children, the common signs of urinary infection include the presence of blood in urine. Sometimes they may complain of abdominal pains, increased fever, and frequent vomiting. General body weakness is also common in women and children with urinary tract infections (Davey 73).
How STIs are Diagnosed
When carrying out the diagnosis for STIs, the physician or doctor should get a comprehensive medical history of the patient. Fresh urine samples are obtained from the individual to determine if there are any potential disease-causing organisms (Davey 75). When conducting the analysis in young children, infants, and aged patients, urine samples are through a method known as catheterization. Laboratory verification helps to determine the possible cause of the urinary infection (Pappas 78).
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If a UTI infection occurs in the lower Urinary tract, experts and medical practitioners refer to it as bladder infection. On the other hand, if the infection occurs in the upper urinary tract the condition is pyelonephritis. Infection in the upper track can be a sign of Diabetes Mellitus (Davey 102).
It is also notable that Health Organizations do not approve “urine bags” in of samples from children. This is because this tends to increase cases of contamination. Because of this, catheterization is used by those who are not trained (Kunin 54). The American academy of pediatrics recommends the use of voiding cystourethrogram for children below the age of two years. This involves the use of real time x-ray as the children urinate, or renal ultrasound for affected children (Pappas 317).
Some organisms causing Chlamydia and gonorrhea can result in urinary tract infections. These are STDs and cause vaginitis or cervicitis in women and cause complications in males with urinary tract infection symptoms. Studies have shown that a yeast infection can cause vaginitis (Davey 103). It is important to test individuals having multiple infections of their urinary tract for interstitial cystitis. This is required even when the urine cultures are negative.
UTI risk factors
The risk factors for urinary tract infections are many. Generally, a blockage of normal urine flow, which is normally 50cc per hour for a normal adult, is one of the risk factors for UTI. An abnormality within the urinary tract creates infection risk thereby increasing the risks for diseases like kidney stones (Porth 92).
Other complications include abnormal prostates, anatomy disorder and urethral stricture. The reason why there is increased potential for these risks is the washout effect when the blood flows into the kidney (Kunin 46). Women are more predisposed to UTIs compared to men. This is because women have a naturally shorter urethra that opens more closely to the anus. It becomes easier for pathogens to get inside the urinary tract easily.
The use of catheters increases the risk to about 30% higher since it has none of the systems for protective immunity that eliminate bacteria and also it connects directly to the bladder. Statistics have revealed that majority of the women using diaphragms or condoms develop spermicidal foam which is known to increase the risks for urinary tract infections in the body (Porth 52).
Individuals who are engaged in active sex also increase their chances for getting urinary tract infections. This explains the reason why sexual behaviors are discouraged because they can increase STDs and other urinary tract infections (Kunin 84).
Male individuals with over 60 years of age have a higher risk for the same since the prostrate enlarges at that age and the bladder is unable to empty fully. Occasionally individuals with bacteremia have this bacterium in the kidney, a phenomenon termed as hematogenous spread.
This is the same case for people with infections in areas connected to the urinary tract. People who have ever had a urologic surgery also have an increased risk of UTIs (Pappas 325). Between weeks six to 26 of during pregnancy, there is an increased risk of infection even though it is not the case always. However, due to pyelophritis a UTI may progress in seriousness as various researchers have confirmed and reports (West 83).
Possible Complications UTIs
Most of the urinary tract infections have no complications if the individuals get quick medication. Early intervention is necessary to prevent further complications because of the infections. If this is not done, the disease becomes chronic and the individual might realize that his or her life is at risk (Porth 97). This does not mean that there are no complications. Some complications can occur later in life and probably result in death.
Some of the complications might include urinary strictures, fistulas, abscesses, and kidney damage. The more advanced is the infection, the more the complication. More complications can result in dehydration and failure of body organs especially the kidney. If a woman is pregnant and has such infections that remain untreated, chances are high that she might have a premature delivery. As well, the newborn child might be underweight or poorly developed (Pappas 325).
The treatment regimes for urinary tract infections depend on the level of infection and the causing organism. Individuals with advanced urinary tract infections require strong antibiotics to kill the disease-causing organisms and treat the condition completely. Individuals who are not highly affected require oral antibiotics because the infection is mild (Pappas 302).
Individuals infected with STDs should be carefully treated and provide them with appropriate medication and antibiotics. Children require necessary treatment depending on the UTI and its level of development. Children and pregnant women should not take ciproflaxin or other related antibiotics (Kunin 454).
Patients who have fungal or parasitic pathogens need antifungals to treat their condition. However, patients should consult with their doctors before they receive any form of treatment (Porth 48). Medicines obtained from the counter do not cure STI bacteria even though they relieve the pain and discomfort. Some medications that contain Phenazopyridine cause urine to turn orange work to relieve pain in the bladder or stain the contact lenses (Pappas 325).
Prevention of UTIs
The first step to prevent urinary tract infections is through good hygiene. Good hygiene for men and women helps prevent infections of the urinary tract. It is important that women clean their genitals as frequently as possible because they stand a higher risk of getting the infections. They should do so by wiping their genitals backwards to prevent pathogens in the anal passage from entering into the urinary tract.
For men, retracting the fore skin will help prevent UTIs because urine will not linger at urethra opening (Porth 92). It is important that people empty the bladder completely because residues will allows pathogens to survive or replicate in the tract. Experts also encourage people to take a shower or urinate immediately after having sex because this will reduce susceptibility to infections such as urethritis.
A good prognosis is normal for spontaneous resolution and easy-to-treat infections. Patients having rapid infections can have a good prognosis if they seek immediate and adequate medication (Kunin 87). This will help to reduce chances of disease development. Aged or people with suppressed immunity have a poor prognosis depending on the kind of damage done by the infection.
Baskin, Laurence. & Kogan, Barry. Handbook of pediatric urology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.
Davey, Patrick. Medicine at a Glance. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2012. Print.
Kunin, Calvin. A reassessment of the importance of “low-count” bacteriuria in young women with acute urinary symptoms, New York: Ann Intern Med, 1993. Print.
Pappas, Panzer. Laboratory in the diagnosis and management of urinary, tract infections, New York: Med Clin North Am, 1991. Print.
Porth, Mattson. Essentials of Patho-physiology: Concepts of Altered Health States. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2010. Print.
West, Krista. Urinary Tract Infections, USA: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2006. Print.