About this disease
What it is about
The disease is caused by bacteria that lead to infection of the urinary tract. Usually, these are ascending infections originating from the lower urinary tract, or there are special circumstances after surgery or illness. Women are affected more often than men due to the shorter urethra: around 60% of all women contract it at least once in their lives.
There are different types of urinary tract infection: asymptomatic bacteriuria and symptomatic urinary tract infections. The latter include cystitis (inflammation of the bladder), urethritis (inflammation of the urethra) or pyelonephritis (inflammation of the renal pelvis). The urinary tract infections can be uncomplicated or complicated.
Symptoms and consequences
Typically, the following symptoms occur with a urinary tract infection: pain and burning when urinating (dysuria), frequent urination with small portions (pollakiuria), urinary urgency, bloody urine (hematuria), fever, back or abdominal pain, chills, nausea, flank pain.
What we do for you
Examination and diagnosis
Often, the diagnosis can already be made through the medical history. For confirmation, the urine is examined for signs of inflammation and traces of blood. In the case of more intensive infections, a urine culture is prepared so that the pathogen can be identified within 2 to 3 days. Ultrasound can be used to rule out drainage disorders of the urinary tract. Rarely, a computed tomography (CT) scan is necessary, for example, if a kidney stone with urinary stasis is suspected as the cause of the infection or if foci of pus are sought.
Simple infections could actually be treated without antibiotics. However, since the course is often difficult to assess, antibiotic therapy is usually started. In the case of more severe infections or inflammation of the renal pelvis, antibiotics cannot be avoided. If the patient is in good general condition, the therapy can be carried out on an outpatient basis. Hospitalization is only necessary in the case of an extensive infection or additional risk factors such as an immune deficiency. If there is a urinary outflow obstruction, this must usually be relieved surgically by a urologist.