Health Tips

Text Size A+ | a-

The Urinary Tract

The urinary tract system consists of two kidneys, connected to the bladder by a pair of ureters.  Finally the urethra connects the bladder to the outside.

As blood passes through the kidneys, urine is produced. The urine is drained into the bladder through the ureters. The bladder stores the urine before it is passed out through the urethra.

 

URINARY TRACT INFECTION

Normally, the urinary tract is free from any germs. We say you have Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) when there is an infection in your urinary tract.  Women are the usual victims.

Most of these infections are caused by germs existing in the intestines and are passed with the stools through the anus. They stick to the skin around the genital areas and cause a UTI if they find their way up the urethra into the bladder. The most common bacteria are the Escherichia coli (E. Coli).

SYMPTOMS

You may have UTI if you experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • The feeling that you need to go to urinate more often than normal
  • Burning sensation around the private parts when urinating
  • Sensation of still having urine despite emptying your bladder already
  • Cloudy urine
  • Smelly urine
  • Blood in the urine
  • Back ache
  • Fever

WHO WILL GET UTI?

Women more often than men. This is because the urethral opening is also very close to the anus and vaginal areas where bacteria are present.

Since the woman's anatomy 'predisposes' them to UTI, Drs will only investigate further if they present with UTIs frequently.  The same cannot be said of men and children. If they present with symptoms of UTI, the Dr may investigate on the first visit to exclude possible abnormality of the urinary tract or presence of stones.

Other predisposing factors to UTI's include:

  • Kidney stones
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetics
  • Enlarged prostate in elderly men
  • Uterine prolapse in elderly women

TREATMENT

Antibiotics. The course of antibiotics must be completed to prevent relapse.  It is advisable to return to the clinic for review after the course of antibiotics to confirm cure.

CAN UTI LEAD TO KIDNEY FAILURE?

Fortunately, most UTIs can be treated successfully and are unlikely to lead to kidney failure. However, in people with urinary obstruction or other urinary tract abnormalities, the infection may lead to progressive kidney damage and ultimately kidney failure.

HOW TO PREVENT OR MINIMISE UTI's

Drink plenty of fluids

But avoid coffee and alcohol as they tend to dehydrate our body.

For the women

Clean yourself after voiding from 'front-to-back' instead of 'back-to-front' so that germs from the anal region will not be dragged to the urethral opening and cause UTI

After sexual intercourse, get up to pass urine to flush out possible germs that may have been pushed into the urethra

Shower

Taking showers is better than soaking in the bathtub. Avoid bubble baths

Don't 'control' urine

Pass urine when the need arises

Intercourse

Wash the genitalia area before and after sex to reduce the amount of germs present around the area.

Double voiding

For the older folks who have obstructive problems, try double voiding or passing urine twice at the same setting to clear the residual urine.