Urinary tract infections: causes, sings and symptoms, treatment

Medically reviewed: 15, February 2024

Read Time:9 Minute

Urinary tract infections: causes, sings and symptoms, treatment

Despite the continuous development of medicine and the introduction of new drugs, innovative treatment of infections and equipment, infectious diseases of the genitourinary system remain the most common among adults and children. The size of the urethra in men is longer than in women, the lower parts of the genitourinary system are affected. The urethra is wider and shorter in women, therefore more frequent diseases are registered than in men.

Urogenital infections. Genitourinary infections. General description of UTI

Infectious diseases of the genito-urinary organs develop because the microbe penetrates the genitourinary tract, which causes inflammation. Some specialists combine sexual and genitourinary diseases.

Nevertheless, WHO recommends that sexual diseases that are transmitted in the appropriate way and affects several organs should be called, and genito-urinary diseases affect the specific organ of the genitourinary system.

Below are the names of microorganisms that cause diseases of the genitourinary organs:

Diseases are divided into specific and nonspecific. The type of illness is determined by the type of causative agent of the disease. The appropriate treatment is carried out by the method of action on the pathogen.

Nonspecific – diseases caused by a microbe, affecting the genitourinary system, but not having the distinctive characteristics of inflammation.

Specific diseases caused by microbes, affecting the organs with specific features specific only to this type of pathogen.

Below are the names of the bacteria that cause specific infections of the genitourinary system:

  • syphilis,
  • trichomoniasis,
  • gonorrhea,
  • mixed infection.

Inflammation in severe form, progressing “through the fault” of mixed pathogens, is called a mixed infection.

The following bacteria cause non-specific urogenital diseases:

  • sticks,
  • chlamydia,
  • viruses,
  • cocci,
  • fungi Candida,
  • ureaplasmas,
  • garndnerella.

So, adnexitis, caused by staphylococcus or chlamydia, is a nonspecific infection that has typical symptoms.

Ways of infection

Protection from chlamydial infections

Modern medicine distinguishes 3 groups of ways that facilitate the transmission of infections of the urogenital tract:

  • Unprotected sex of any kind. Under the word “unprotected”, condoms are neglected.
  • Penetration of plasma into the genito-urinary organs through the blood and lymph flow from other organs, where inflammation is present, which is extremely rare.
  • The infection on the skin or in the external genital organs due to non-compliance with personal hygiene and climbing it to the adrenal glands, etc.

There are many microorganisms that can cause infection in the genitourinary system and throughout the body. They are divided into 2 types:

  • Pathogenic,
  • Conditionally pathogenic.

The natural environment of human organs contains conditionally pathogenic bacteria that do not provoke any infections. While pathogenic bacteria are not part of a healthy microflora and can cause infection in the genitourinary system.

Immunity disorders, hypothermia, viral infections, mucous and skin injuries, etc., contribute to the fact that conditionally pathogenic bacteria become pathogenic, thereby causing diseases of the genitourinary system.

Some pathogenic bacteria, being like certain organs, cause the disease precisely in it.

Some microorganisms are similar to several organs and can cause inflammation in one or another organ, and sometimes in several. For example, group B Streptococcus provokes angina, however, being similar to kidneys and glands. This microorganism penetrates through the flow of blood into the tissues of the kidney and causes inflammation of the organ.

How do you know if you have an urinary tract infection?

Here are some common symptoms of UTI, that both men and women might have.

Pain in the genitals

As indicated above, the peculiarity of the male urethra contributes to the defeat of the lower compartments of the genitourinary system. Disease of the genitourinary system in men is noted in the following:

  • cutting pain when emptying the bladder,
  • drawing pains in the groin area.

These symptoms require immediate treatment to a specialist. Urethritis and prostatitis are the most common diseases of the genitourinary system in men. The causes of such diseases in men are as follows:

  • in the case of non-compliance with the rules of individual hygiene, especially with untrimmed foreskin,
  • abnormality of the urethra,
  • anal sex,
  • microflora partner, contributing to the development of infections.

Physiological differences of the genitourinary system in women, namely: a wide and short channel is located to the easy penetration of microorganisms into the bladder, and from there to the ureters to the kidneys.

Symptoms are not as bright as in men. This leads to the fact that diseases progress to a chronic form. Most women report such infections of the genitourinary system as urethritis, cystitis, and also pyelonephritis.

Asymptomatic bacteriuria is detected only after the results of microflora analyzes, when bacteria are found in the urine of women.

Urinary tract infections in infants and small children

The determining factors of the prevalence of infections in children are age and gender. So, among newborn children, boys are sick more than girls. Closer to the age of 1 year, girls are sick four times more boys.

Infections in children are provoked in the following ways:

  • hematogenous,
  • ascending,
  • lymphogenous.

In the newborn and infants, the hematogenous pathway is particularly significant. The general system of lymph circulation between the intestine and OMS is to the development of genitourinary infections in children.

Normal urodynamics (collection, reserve and urination) in children prevents entry of infection.

In children of the 3rd and 4th group of blood, urinary tract infections most often occur. Also the following risk groups among children should be examined in more detail:

  • Babies with broken urodynamics.
  • Children suffering from frequent constipation and bowel disease.
  • Girls, as well as all children with the 3rd and 4th blood groups, etc.

Treatment of children requires adherence to diet and sleep.

Symptoms of UTI in children

Burning in the genitals

Let us dwell on some of the genitourinary diseases and their symptoms. Urethritis is a disease that is predominantly common in both sexes. Has the following symptoms:

  • Frequent urge to urinate accompanied by burning.
  • Also, the patient may complain of discharge, so that the opening of the urethra can stick together and turn red,
  • A specialist may not detect the presence of pathogens, however, the level of leukocytes in the urine will be high.

Urethritis is infected if the rules of individual and sexual hygiene are not respected, and in some cases, pathogens can pass into the genitourinary system through the blood and lymph if there are pathogens or tonsillitis in the body.

Experts identify the presence of Escherichia coli as a causative agent in the diagnosis of urethritis, however, the causative agents are Ureaplasma urealyticum or Chlamydia trachomatis. To identify the latter, you must use special methods.

Cystitis is a disease caused by irritation of the mucous membrane of the bladder. Causes of irritation:

  • the presence of stones in the bladder,
  • retention of urination,
  • a tumor in the bladder,
  • exposure to cold temperature,
  • the abuse of smoked and spicy food,
  • non-observance of individual / sexual hygiene,
  • already existing inflammations in other organs of the genitourinary system,
  • the presence of anomalies of the urino-genital organs from birth.

Acute cystitis is expressed by frequent urge to urinate. In some cases, the patient can “run” to the restroom up to 5 times within an hour. At the end of urination, pain in the form of rubbing, burning or dull pain over the pubis can be felt.

The causative agents of cystitis have a high sensitivity to the drugs of the group of antibiotics. That is, a specialist can prescribe high-performance antibiotics without further bacteriological analysis. After the first reception of attacks stop, however, for the purpose of prophylaxis, experts recommend taking the medication for another 4-5 days.

Treatment lasts a week, in the case of continuing attacks, a specialist appoints tests for the sensitivity of microflora to the active substances of the drug. Recurrent attacks indicate a new infection.

The presence of the same pathogens in the first and second cases, indicates the need to prescribe treatment lasting 14 days. Frequent repetitions of cystitis can occur due to the use of vaginal diaphragms and spermicides, along with infection with Candida fungus.

To diagnose acute cystitis, these types of examination are performed: urine analysis, blood test, ultrasound examination of the bladder.

Chronic cystitis has the same symptomatology as acute. Possible reasons:

  • presence of urethra pathology,
  • diseases of the genitourinary system,
  • adenoma of the prostate gland in men, and so on.

Diagnosis of chronic cystitis involves several urological studies, as well as cystoscopy.

Pyelonephritis is a disease of the kidneys, namely, the pelvis of the kidneys, which are responsible for the collection of urine secreted by the kidneys. Pyelonephritis, which develops as a result of complications after other genitourinary diseases, is called secondary.

Primary pyelonephritis is an independent disease. In accordance with this, the necessary treatment is prescribed.

Depending on the lesion of one or both kidneys, pyelonephritis is called one- and two-sided, respectively.

In men, this disease develops after 50 years, as a consequence of adenoma, when the outflow of urine is disturbed. In women, pyelonephritis can develop while the child is waiting, when the ureters are compressed by the uterus. It is possible that women suffering from chronic pyelonephritis, but who did not know about it, the disease will be tormented during pregnancy, as previously the disease did not manifest itself.

Primary pyelonephritis has the following symptoms:

  • fever,
  • pain in the side parts of the waist,

The results of bacteriological research indicate that the body contains:

  • bacteria,
  • cylinders,
  • white blood cells.

The causative agent is E. coli. Abscesses and urolithiasis are detected if the patient has a secondary or complicated pyelonephritis, using computed tomography. In addition, specialists perform excretory urography.


Prostatitis is one of the most common male diseases of the genitourinary tract. Experts recommend a rectal massage of the prostate before collecting urine for research to identify pathogens.

Adnexitis in women

One of the most common diseases of the genitourinary tract in women is adnexitis. Another name for the disease is ovarian inflammation. The disease is acute and chronic.

Patients with acute illness complain of the following symptoms:

  • pain in the lower abdomen,
  • elevated temperature – sub-febrile or fever,
  • copious sweating,
  • headache,
  • pain during pressure on the abdomen,
  • disturbed menstrual cycle,
  • pain during sexual intercourse,
  • tension in the abdominal wall of the lower abdomen.

In the chronic form of the disease, the period of exacerbation is alternated with a period of remission. Causes of exacerbation: hypothermia, stress, complications of other diseases.

The period of exacerbation has the same symptomatology with an acute form, and there are also changes in the menstrual cycle of women:

  • painful menstruation,
  • increase in the number,
  • menstruation becomes longer,
  • rare cases indicate a decrease in the number and duration.

Salpingitis has the following symptoms:

  • fever,
  • pain and discomfort in the sacrum and lower abdomen,
  • pains are transmitted to the rectum,
  • headache,
  • sensation of weakness,
  • the number of white cells in the urine increases,
  • disorders of urination.

The above symptoms appear due to inflammation of the fallopian tubes. Pathogens: Staphylococci, Escherichia coli, Proteus, Trichomonas, Streptococcus, Chlamydia and fungi.

But most often, salpingitis is provoked by microorganisms of several species at once. Ways of infection:

  • through the bloodstream or lymph flow,
  • from the vagina, sigmoid colon or appendix.

How do I get rid of UTI? Treatment of urinary infections

Modern medicine offers several components for the treatment of the above infections in men and women. Treatment mainly consists of taking antibacterial drugs.

  • Therapy aimed at the destruction of the pathogen (etiotropic therapy),
  • Therapy for strengthening immunity (taking special medications),
  • Taking medications that reduce discomfort and pain in diseases. It is very important to choose the right combination of drugs.

The type of pathogen determines the choice of the necessary drug. Infections can affect the surface of the organs. They are treated with local antiseptic drugs.

With a second infection, the treatment lasts as long as the first case. If the disease has a chronic form, then the treatment lasts a minimum of 1.5 months.