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In most cases, that is in about 80 percent in adults, urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by a variety of pathogens, infectious bacteria normally present in the intestines, especially in the colon.
Nearly all infections of the lower urinary tract are caused by a few strains of E. coli bacteria, called uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC).
As a part of the gastrointestinal system, they do not belong in the urinary tract. These bacteria, however, have multiple little hairs called cilia that function like little feet that allow them to climb from the skin up the urinary tube (urethra) into the bladder.
If E. coli bacterium gets into the urinary tract, the body has ways of fighting it off. The obvious method is to simply flushing it out with the urine. But this pathogen has evolved ways of anchoring itself to the uroepithelial cells.
It takes advantage of receptors naturally found on the mucosal lining there. These receptors are like molecular “docking bays” for substances which the cells need for their normal growth and development.
E. coli uses “grappling hooks”, called type I pili, to hook on to these receptors, and then to invade the cell. These pathogenic “grappling hooks” are composed of long, fibrous chains of a molecular “glue” called adhesin.
Once inside the cell, E. coli can live and reproduce in safety, shielded from many of the body’s defensive immune responses. In fact, it is so sophisticated that, when the body detects that cells have been infected and activates the cell suicide program to destroy the invader, E. coli can actually flee the dying host cell before it is flushed out, and look for new cells to affect.
Unfortunately, E. coli bacteria return in as many as 30 percent of people apparently “cured” by antibiotics! These uropathogens are able to survive an antibiotic treatment by reverting to an inactive state.
It is true that within several days of antibiotic treatment, the number of bacteria reproducing can drop to zero. Not all the bacteria are killed, though.
About 3 percent of the E. coli bacteria may be still present in a dormant state after treatment with Cipro (ciprofloxacin). About 7 percent may linger after treatment with Bactrim-Septra (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole).
Even after a month of antibiotic exposure, about 10 million of the original 1 billion bacteria may remain. No wonder uropathogenic E. coli has been called one of the most dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacterium.
A newly identified, antibiotic-resistant strain of a common E. coli bacterium are contributing to an increase in relatively hard-to-treat urinary bladder infections.
This strain, resistant to a popular two-drug combination (Bactrim / Septra), shows a pattern of resistance to multiple antibiotics and has genetic characteristics, called “virulence factors”, that increase its ability to infect the urinary tract.
Not much is known about how new strains of E. coli bacterium arise and spread. So far, there is also no evidence that they are causing any increase in kidney infections or other serious complications.
It could be that these organisms have been around forever and have now acquired resistance to several antibiotics. They could also have been introduced through contaminated food.
As the study’s researchers blame improper food handling for food-borne UTIs, you can minimize your chances of developing an E. coli infection by:
Washing your hands
Clean your hands thoroughly (at least 25 seconds!) after using the bathroom and before food preparation.
Cooking meats thoroughly
Use a meat thermometer to ensure chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C).
Preventing cross contamination
Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they come in contact with raw meat.
A variety of other Enterobacteriaceae and Gram-positive pathogens tend to remain limited to the urethra and reproductive system. These uropathogenic bacteria usually relate to urinary tract catheterization, also to medical and surgical instruments and equipment.
Staphylococcus aureus is present in up to 25 percent of healthy people. This type of bacterium is commonly found on the skin and hair as well as in the noses and throats of people and animals. It is a common cause of urinary tract infections (UTIs) among people with urinary tract catheterization (see the information below).
Staph aureus is also a known cause of nosocomial urinary tract infection, called a hospital-acquired infection (HAI), that is acquired and contracted within a hospital environment or other healthcare facility. Transmission usually occurs via healthcare workers, patients, hospital equipment, or interventional procedures involving that incisions, punctures and entry into a body cavity.
Urinary tract is one of the most common sites of staph infection.
Unfortunately, there is an increasing incidence of multi drug-resistant (MDR) pathogens causing hospital-acquired infections. This rise can be explained by indiscriminate use of antibiotics and lacking hygiene measures, especially among medical staff.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one of the commonly seen multi drug-resistant pathogens. Although not considered to be a sexually transmitted infection, Staph aureus is something that can be passed from skin-to-skin contact.
Staphylococcus saprophyticus, a major human pathogenic bacterium, is a common cause of uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UITs). It is responsible for 5–10 percent of acute infections and for sexually transmitted penile urethritis, an inflammation of the urethra in the penis.
It can infect the urinary tract even if it is present in low numbers in urine cultures. Traditional urine dipstick tests for bacteriuria (presence of bacteria in the urine) may not detect infection with Staphylococcus saprophyticus.
Group B strep is a common bacterium often carried in the intestines or lower genital tract. It is not sexually transmitted. Also, it is not spread through contaminated food or water.
GBS infections are serious and potentially life-threatening. However, their association with urinary tract infections (UTIs), such as kidney, bladder or prostate infections, is rather rare.
Risk for serious Group B strep infections increases in adults 65 years and older.
Mycoplasma hominis is a common pathogenic bacterium. In small quantities, it is present in the urinary tract and the genital tract of men. Higher quantities can be transmitted by sexual contact, via unprotected vaginal sex or shared sex toys.
Infection results than in colonisation of the genitalia, affecting up to 50 percent of sexually active males.
This pathogen can also cause painful urinary tract infections (UTIs). More likely to contract Mycoplasma hominis infection are men with suppressed immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or who have recently undergone an organ transplant. For these persons, this pathogenic bacterium can be particularly harmful.
Sexual intercourse with a person infected by Mycoplasma hominis can also increase the risk of contracting HIV infection.
M. hominis pathogen can be a cause of various syndromes such as nongonococcal penile urethritis, pyelonephritis, pneumonia, or bacteremia (blood poisoning).
As the symptoms are similar to many other sexually transmitted infections, Mycoplasma hominis infections are often mistaken for gonorrhoea or chlamydia. However, you can have Mycoplasma hominis without experiencing any symptoms at all.
Mycoplasma hominis infections are treated with antibiotics.
Klebsiella pneumoniae, a Gram-negative bacterium – the most significant member of the genus Klebsiella of the Enterobacteriaceae family. It has been reported as the second most frequent pathogenic organism causing UTIs, after E.coli being the cause of 70-95 percent of lower and upper urinary tract infections.
Living in the mouth, the gut and respiratory tract, Klebsiella bacterium can be spread through person-to-person via the contaminated hands or by contamination of the environment. Unlike E. coli, Klebsiella is also found in environmental reservoirs like sewers, soil and surface water.
In hospital settings, this pathogen can ascend from the gut and cause a urinary tract infection or infect by means of a urinary catheter. More at risk for Klebsiella infections are people with a compromised immune system, older women, and/or people with implanted urinary catheters (see below for further information).
The genus Enterococcus includes more than 17 species, but only a few cause infections in humans. One of the most prevalent species is Enterococcus faecalis.
E. faecalis is a ubiquitous gram-positive bacterium, usually found in the soil and water, naturally inhabits the intestines, so it is present in the fecal matter.
As a very resilient pathogen, it can survive in hot, salty, or acidic environments. However, if it spreads to other parts of the body it can cause serious infections. The bacteria can get into urine, blood, or a wound during surgery.
Enterococcus faecalis is a common cause a variety of nosocomial, hospital-aquired urinary tract infections (UTIs). Infection is often transmitted through catheters or dialysis ports, when not thoroughly cleaned.
Although E. faecalis is naturally present in the intestinal tract, it can also cause diarrhea, especially in elderly and immunocompromised patients, such as those with HIV/AIDS or who have recently undergone an organ transplant.
The preferred antibiotic used to treat Enterococcus faecalis infections is ampicillin. Ciprofloxacin, however, has been usually employed in the treatment of enterococcal UTIs.
Proteus mirabilis is a highly motile Gram-negative bacterium discovered in 1885 and accounting for more than 90 percent of Proteus infections; therefore, it can be considered a community-acquired infection.
When P. mirabilis moves to the urethra and urinary bladder it becomes a cause of hard-to-treat urinary tract infections (UTIs).
The pathogen spreads mainly through contact with infected persons or contaminated objects and surfaces. It can also be ingested via the intestinal tract due to a contaminated food.
As an opportunistic pathogen, producing in wounds a very distinct fishy odor, Proteus mirabilis can also cause kidney stones, diarrhea, septicemia (blood poisoning), meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord), eye infections, and respiratory system infections.
Infections caused by P. mirabilis are usually treated with antibiotics. However, the pathogen is resistant some of the drugs, such as ampicillin and cephalosporin.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common bacterium found in soil, water, skin flora and most man-made environments. As an opportunistic pathogen of immunocompromised individuals vulnerable to infections, it typically infects the urinary tract.
P. aeruginosa appears to be among the most adherent of common urinary pathogens to the bladder uroepithelium. An infection can occur via an ascending or descending route.
It can also invade the bloodstream from the urinary tract. This route is the source of approximately 40 percent of P. aeruginosa infections.
This bacterium is the third leading cause of hospital-acquired urinary tract infections (UTIs), accounting for approximately 12 percent of all infections of this type. They are usually related to urinary tract catheterization, instrumentation or surgery.
As a highly relevant opportunistic pathogen, P. aeruginosa has low antibiotic susceptibility. It is naturally resistant to a large range of antibiotics and may demonstrate additional resistance after unsuccessful treatment.
Therefore, choosing an antibiotic should be guided according to antibiotic susceptibility test (AST), rather than empirically. Exposing P. aeruginosa to a variety of antibiotics helps to decide which one should be prescribed for a particular infection.
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis. In men, the chlamydia organisms infect cells of the lining of urethra, rectum and eye.
People with chlamydia often have no symptoms. Consequently, they may transmit the infection to other people without knowing it.
However, when the symptoms do occur, their type and severity will depend on the site of the infection and the person’s response to it. In men, chlamydia most often causes penile urethritis, an inflammation of the urethra in the penis. The symptoms include:
To diagnose chlamydia, a special test must be done by a health professional. As this is a serious condition, it requires prompt medical attention and is easily treated with an antibiotic medication.
However, if it is not detected and treated, chlamydia infection can spread to the epididymis – a long, coiled tube that stores sperm and transports it from the testes. It may cause pain and swelling in the scrotum (epididymitis). If left untreated, acute epididymitis can lead to a range of complications.
Although the most common cause of epididymitis is chlamydia along with gonorrhea, it can also be caused by a non-sexually transmitted infection, such as a urinary tract infection or prostate infection (prostatitis).
Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) remain one of the most common healthcare associated infections in acute care hospitals providing inpatient short-term treatments and other related services for surgery, acute medical conditions or injuries.
Although 25 percent of all hospitalized patients will receive a catheter at some point in their stay, nearly 1 out of every 3 patients undergoing catheterization does not need it! That much of the overcatheterization may be due to the fact that it makes the jobs of hospital staff easier.
However, once inserted, the devices often remain too lon because doctors either forget or do not know which of their patients still have a catheter inserted.
Catheters are considered necessary for patients who are:
Unfortunately, every day a catheter is left in, a patient has a 5 percent chance of developing a urinary tract infection, as bacteria from the patient’s genital area – in most cases pathogenic E. coli bacteria – migrate up the outside of the catheter and infect the otherwise sterile bladder.
Usually treated with antibiotics, the urinary tract infections have the potential to lengthen hospital stays and cause more serious side effects that can be life threatening (when infection spreads to the bloodstream).
For this reason, researchers are calling for a mandatory “stop-order” on all hospital catheterizations after 48 hours, with a daily review thereafter.
The incidence of UTIs is reduced, however, if silver alloy catheters are used.
Stress and anxiety are ones of the easiest ways to trigger UTIs, that is when you put too much pressure on yourself, for example, by not taking proper care of yourself. In other words, high stress suppresses your immune system, also prevents you from practicing healthy hygiene habits what actually makes you more susceptible to stress-induced UTIs. Healthy hygiene habits include:
A hidden food allergy can cause bladder symptoms such as frequent irritation and discomfort with urination, while no infection is found. The reason is the nature of food allergy and sensitivity.
Actually, a number of common foods and drinks – artificial sweeteners, spicy foods, tomatoes, sugar, honey, alcohol, coffee, tea, acidic fruits, citrus, or caffeinated/carbonated drinks – can irritate your urinary bladder, and may worsen UTI symptoms. Therefore, if you have signs of a bladder infection they should be avoided.
Also, some medications –such as antihistamines, antipsychotic drugs, decongestants, and anticholinergic drugs — can cause urinary tract infections.
Yeast infection-induced UTIs
An yeast infection, caused by the overgrowth of the Candida fungus, can affect the penis resulting in itching, irritation, or burning. It appears as redness, small white spots, or a dry, peeling rash. Men can get an yeast infection by having unprotected sex with a woman with vaginitis (an inflammation or infection of the vagina). Urinary tract infections (UTIs), on the other hand, usually caused by bacteria and affecting the urinary tract, result in frequent urge to urinate and painful urination (dysuria). Although a vaginal yeast infection is very different from a UTI, it is possible to have both at the same time. Lower urinary tract infections with Candida usually occur in patients with urinary catheters, typically after antibiotic therapy.
Poor kidney function-induced UTIs
Chronic renal insufficiency, as a result poorly controlled diabetes, increases the risk for UTIs. Asymptomatic bacteriuria in diabetic men is more common than in men without diabetes. Also, diabetic men are more prone to urethritis.
Many cases of low-grade urinary tract infections are often missed on a doctor’s visit. Many men may experience no symptoms, or symptoms so sudden and severe that they have to seek an emergency medical care. As UTIs in men are often accompanied by prostatitis (prostate infections) and/or prostate enlargement (BPH), these conditions should be treated thoroughly because of the chance of kidney infection (nephritis).
*Based on various available sources and studies, our research and practical experience. Last modified on November 20, 2019.
As you probably know by now, urinary tract infection (UTI) has become a common urological problem the last decades, with women being affected three times more than men. Also, children and young adults suffer from this painful and frustrating ailment.
In a nutshell, urinary tract infection is your body’s poor response to opportunistic uropathogenic bacteria. Unfortunately, most sufferers still have no idea that there are options other than medicinal drugs to address it.
Also, many UTI sufferers believe, and/or have been told, that their condition is much TOO SERIOUS for natural measures to be the proper solution.
That’s why you should know about Uribiotic Formula. Along with other naturopathic specialty UTI supplements, it can be the right way to remedy UTIs, naturally and effectively. This multi-herbal solution, accompanied by the time-tested practical steps, not only can help you fight the urinary infections, but also prevent them from coming back, so you will feel on top of the world again!
Think you might have a urinary tract infection
and/or interested in getting a second opinion?
Please fill in the six-part questionnaire below, answering all questions thoughtfully and to the best of your knowledge. By doing so, you will be much better prepared for an eventual doctor’s appointment. It might also help your doctor determine if you need a urine test, which is not always a routine practice.
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