Urinary infection (or urinary tract infection UTI) is the presence of microbial pathogens within the normally sterile urinary tract. Urinary infections are the most common bacterial infections in humans, accounting for 8.6 million ambulatory visits (84% by women) in 2007.

UTI may be asymptomatic (subclinical infection) or symptomatic (disease). Urinary tract infections include a wide variety of clinical entities: asymptomatic bacteriuria (ABU), cystitis (bladder infection), prostatitis and pyelonephritis. Another classification is that acute cystitis and pyelonephritis occurring in non-pregnant, healthy premenopausal women, with no history of urinary tract abnormalities are classified as uncomplicated UTIs. All other infections of urinary tract are considered as complicated.

The etiologic agents for UTI are:

  1. E. coli accounts for 75-90% of isolates
  2. Staphylococcus saprophyticus for 5-15%
  3. Klebsiella species, Proteus species Enterococcus species and other organisms for 5-10%.

Risk factors for uncomplicated cases of cystitis and pyelonephritis include:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Use of spermicides
  • Previous urinary tract infections
  • History of urinary tract infection in a first- degree female relative.

Diabetes mellitus and urinary incontinence are also risk factors for UTI.

The most frequent clinical signs and symptoms of urinary tract infections are:

  1. Persistent urge to urinate
  2. Burning sensation when urinating
  3. Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
  4. Urine that appears cloudy
  5. Urine that appears red, bright pink or cola-colored-sign of macroscopic hematuria, presence of blood in the urine.
  6. Strong smelling urine
  7. Pelvic pain in women.

UTI

The treatment of UTIs generally is based on antibiotic therapy, depending on which is the cause of the infection.

In recent studies, scientists have found a new use for cranberries, which is to fight bacterial infections, generally in the urinary tract. The team studied 160 patients aged 23-88 years. Half of the patients received two cranberry juice capsules twice daily for six weeks. The other half took placebo. The results of the experiment showed that cranberry capsules lowered the risk of UTIs by 50%.

The cranberries contain A-type proanthocyanidins (PACs), which interfere with the bacteria’s ability to attach in the bladder’s wall. This fact reduces the possibility of causing an infection.

The juice concentrates that you can find easily in the grocery store WILL NOT treat a urinary tract infection, because it takes a large concentration of cranberries to prevent bacterial adhesion. This amount is not found in the juices we drink.

This interesting study shows that cranberry capsules, which contain high amounts of PACs, have a great effect in preventing UTIs, but is very important to know that if the symptoms persist always consult your doctor.

References:

  • http://www.webmd.com/women/guide/your-guide-urinary-tract-infections
  • http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/basics/symptoms/con-20037892
  • http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263426.php
  • http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMcp1104429
  • Image adapted from: http://www.thestonerscookbook.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/UTI.jpg
  • Image adapted from: http://www.driscolls.com/sites/default/files/styles/rounded_generic_header/public/Organic%20Header.jpg?itok=ZXNE2KhW