Pathophysiology of Urinary Tract Infections

Pathophysiology of lower and upper urinary tract infections

The lower urinary tract infection affects the bladder, often referred to as cystitis. Infections of the urethra in women (urethritis) and prostate in men (prostatitis) are also categorized as lower urinary tract infections. Upper urinary tract infections are infections of the kidney (pyelonephritis). This type of urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria is left in the bladder during urination (McPhee & Hammer, 2012). Stone in the bladder, narrow urethra or enlarging prostate may block the flow of urine. In this regard, urine in the urinary tract may fail to come out with the urine, causing lower urinary tract infection. Catheter or other instruments in the urinary tract may introduce bacteria in the bladder and cause lower urinary tract infection (McPhee & Hammer, 2012). This type of disease causes an urge for urination, and burning sensation during urination.

The upper urinary tract infection occurs when infection spreads to the kidney due to the movement of bacteria through the bloodstream. Escherichia coli bacteria in the large intestines are a common cause of upper urinary tract infection (Huether & McCance, 2012). Large kidney stones may cause blockage of urine, leading to flow of bacteria through bloodstream up the urinary tract, and into the kidney. People with upper urinary tract infection have frequent urge for urination, burning sensation during urination, fever, pain in the back, vomiting and chills.

Factors affecting the lower and upper urinary tract infections

Two common factors affecting UTI are gender and behaviour. UTI is usually common in women, especially during their reproduction period. The disease affects women because the length of their urethra is short. The urethra is also close to the anus and vagina where bacteria reside (Huether & McCance, 2012). Pregnancy also causes UTI in women because it interferes with the process of urination, leading to blockage in the urinary tract and the bladder. In terms of behaviour, sexual intercourse is a common behaviour that affects the urinary tract infection. The motion caused by sexual activity leads to movement of bacteria up the urinary tract to the urethra, and to the bladder and kidney.


References List

Huether, S. E., & McCance, K. L. (2012). Understanding pathophysiology (Laureate custom ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby

McPhee, S.J., & Hammer, G.D. (2012). Pathophysiology of disease: An introduction to clinical medicine (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Medical

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