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By Dr Dulcy Rakumakoe

Chief Executive Officer

All you need to know about urinary tract infections

Don't ignore: If you leave it untreated it can have serious consequences.

A urinary tract infection  (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system which includes your
kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra.

These infections are most commonly in the bladder and the urethra. Women are at greater risk of
developing a UTI than men are. Infection limited to your bladder can be very painful and cause

However, serious consequences can occur if a UTI spreads to your kidneys. Doctors typically treat urinary tract infections with antibiotics. But you can take steps to reduce your chances of getting a UTI in the first place.

When treated promptly and properly, lower urinary tract infections rarely lead to complications. But left untreated, it can have serious consequences. All about urinary tract infections don’t ignore: if you leave it untreated, it can have serious consequences.
Complications of a UTI may include:

  • Recurrent infections, especially in women who experience three or more UTIs.
  • Permanent kidney damage from an acute or chronic kidney infection (pyelonephritis) due to
    an untreated UTI.
  • Increased risk in pregnant women of delivering low birth weight or premature infants.
  • Urethral narrowing (stricture) in men from recurrent urethritis
  • Sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection, especially if the infection works its way up your urinary tract to your kidneys. Urinary tract infections typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder.
    When that happens, bacteria numbers increase and grow into a full-blown infection in the urinary tract.
  • Infection of the bladder (cystitis). This type of UTI is usually caused by Escherichia coli (E.
    coli), a type of bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. However, sometimes other bacteria are responsible. Sexual intercourse may lead to cystitis, but you don’t have to be sexually active to develop it. All women are at risk of cystitis because of their anatomy – specifically, the short distance from the urethra to the anus and the urethral opening to the bladder.
  • Infection of the urethra (urethritis). This type of UTI can occur when GI bacteria spread from
    the anus to the urethra. Also, because the female urethra is close to the vagina, sexually transmitted infections, such as herpes, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and mycoplasma, can cause urethritis.