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Pathophysiology:  A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system involving your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra.  It can be separated into two categories, upper and lower.  The upper urinary tract is composed of the kidneys and ureters.  The lower urinary tract consists of the bladder and the urethra.  Lower UTI’s are more common than upper.  Each type of UTI may result in more-specific signs and symptoms, depending on which part of your urinary tract is infected.  UTI.s typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder.  Although the urinary system is designed to keep out such microscopic invaders, these defenses sometimes fail.  When that happens, bacteria may take hold and grow into a full-blown infection in the urinary tract, (Huether & McCance, 2012).

Medications:  Antibiotics usually are the first line treatment for urinary tract infections. Which drugs are prescribed and for how long depend on your health condition and the type of bacteria found in your urine.  Commonly prescribed antibiotics include, Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, Fosfomycin, Nitrofurantoin, Cephalexin, and Ceftriaxone.  The group of antibiotic medicines known as fluoroquinolones like ciprofloxacin, and levofloxacin aren’t commonly recommended for simple UTIs, as the risks of these medicines generally outweigh the benefits for treating uncomplicated UTIs.  In some cases, such as a complicated UTI or kidney infection, your doctor might prescribe a fluoroquinolone medicine if no other treatment options exist.  For a severe UTI, you may need treatment with intravenous antibiotics in a hospital, (Mayo Clinic, 2017).

Gender and advanced age:  The reason women are more likely to develop bladder infections than men comes down to basic anatomy.  Female urethras are much shorter than male urethras.  Approximately an inch and a half in length to be exact.  This means the bacteria doesn’t have to travel nearly as far to reach the bladder.  The population most likely to experience UTIs is the elderly.  Older individuals are more vulnerable for many reasons, including their overall susceptibility to infections due to a weakened immune system.  Elderly men and women also experience a weakening of the muscles of the bladder and pelvic floor, which can lead to increased urine retention and incontinence, (MedlinePlus, 2018).  Many are prescribed multiple daily medications and they aren’t always taken as prescribed.  Patients may forget to take their medications, become confused on when and how to take medication, multiple medications can become overwhelming. 

Patient education:  Patient education should begin with education to help patients prevent recurrent infections.  Patients should practice good hygiene and females should wipe from front to back.  Drink plenty of fluid to flush bacteria out of urinary tract.  Empty your bladder completely as soon as you feel the urge, or at least every three hours. Get plenty of vitamin C. It makes urine acidic and helps keep bacteria down.  Consult a doctor if an infection is suspected and complete the entire amount of prescribed medication. 

References

Huether, S. E., & McCance, K. L. (2012). Understanding pathophysiology. Edinburgh: Mosby.

Mayo Clinic. (2017, August 25). Urinary tract infection (UTI) – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353453

MedlinePlus. (2018, April 10). Urinary Tract Infections | UTI | UTI Symptoms | MedlinePlus. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/urinarytractinfections.html

Planned Parenthood. (2016). What is a Urinary Tract Infection? | Symptoms & Causes. Retrieved from https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/health-and-wellness/urinary-tract-infections-utis

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