Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Usually reported as "that uncomfortable and painful urination", urinary infection can be summed up as the infection caused by bacteria in the urinary tract.

Many people use the term to describe cystitis (bladder infection), very common in women. However, it is important to know that cystitis is an infection of the bladder only (or the lower part of the urinary tract), ie, is a type of urinary infection. Since the urinary infection term expresses an infection that can occur anywhere in the urinary system (such as kidneys, bladder, urethra and ureters).

Maria Leticia Azevedo medical nefrologista Hospital Saint Lucia and director of Kidney Diseases Clinic of Brasilia (CDRB), explains that urinary tract infection is the presence of pain and burning on urination caused by the body's reaction to the presence of bacteria, viruses or fungi until the bladder and urinary tract, which are normally sterile. "

Women of reproductive age, according to the medical nephrologist, is the largest incidence group by age.

The problem deserves close attention. Patrícia de Rossi, gynecologist and obstetrician's Hospital of Mandaqui, in São Paulo (SP), points out that more than half of all women will have a lifelong cystitis, especially from the beginning of sexual life.

Read also: 7 facts you still do not know about underwear

Types of urinary tract infection and its symptoms

You can talk basically three types of urinary tract infection:


This is the most common type. Maria Letícia explains what happens when germs are in the bladder and urethra. "The symptoms are burning on urination, increased urination. In most cases of cystitis, the treatment of infections happen even without the use of antibiotics. However, these are indicated as shorten the duration of symptoms. "


According to Maria Letícia is when the seeds are in the ureters and kidneys. "In addition to the symptoms of cystitis, there may be fever, body tremors, feeling of discomfort and pain in the back area (where the kidneys are). All cases of pyelonephritis deserve treatment to prevent the infection from spreading into the bloodstream. "

Read also: 8 body alerts that indicate that your health does not go well

asymptomatic bacteriuria

Patricia highlights this type of urinary infection that happens when there is bacteria in the urine without causing symptoms. "It is important during pregnancy because it increases the chance of premature birth and low birth weight babies," she says.

Causes of urinary infections

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Patricia says that bacteria come from the intestinal flora own woman.

Urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria enter the urinary system (through the urethra) and begin to multiply. Normally, the urinary tract can expel these foreign organisms, but sometimes this defense fails, then the bacteria starts to grow within the urinary tract, initiating an infection.

The causes vary widely according to where the infection occurs, but it is possible to name a few factors that show why urinary infections (cystitis especially) are more common in women:

1. anatomical quirks of women: Women have a shorter urethra and next to the anus thus their own anatomical peculiarities of the female urinary tract already allow them to have more urinary infections.

2. Sexual intercourse: during intercourse, of course, not change the vaginal flora; and when the body can not expel foreign organisms, they can rise to the urethra reaching the bladder and causing infection.

3. Pregnancy: at this stage, naturally occurring bacterial growth. It is worth noting that in the case of pregnant women, the infection is usually asymptomatic (without symptoms), so ask a lot of attention from the professional.

4. Menopause: this stage occurs hormonal fall, in addition, also low immunity - factors that together make the woman is more prone to this type of infection.

5. Hold the urine: common in the case of people staying too long without going to the bathroom at work or on a trip, for example. The "stopped pee" in the bladder creates the perfect environment for the proliferation of bacteria.

6. Low fluid intake: taking little water daily is an aggravating factor. The person does so less wetting and "stop urine" enables the proliferation of bacteria.

7. Other factors: existence of some calculation in the urinary tract; there is a vaginal discharge; presence of genital warts that alter the vaginal flora; low immunity (which can occur due to various health problems) are other factors that may promote urinary infection.

Problem Diagnosis

Patricia highlights the symptoms of cystitis are very characteristic:

  • Painful urination (dysuria);
  • frequent urination (pollakiuria);
  • Urgent desire to urinate (urgency);
  • Pain in lower abdomen;
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria) is observed in some cases;
  • As urine foul odor.

Already pyelonephritis, also according to the gynecologist and obstetrician, has signs of systemic infection, such as:

  • Fever;
  • Malaise;
  • Nausea and vomiting.

"This condition is serious and needs medical attention briefly," recalls Patricia.

The gynecologist explains that, taking into account the symptoms, the tests are aids in the diagnosis and, depending on the case, they may even be dispensed with. "The most commonly used are simple urinalysis and urine culture of urine. In selected cases and pyelonephritis are also required blood tests, "he says.

Treatments for urinary infections

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Patricia explains that urinary tract infection must be treated with antibiotics. "There are several medications and schemes, depending on patient characteristics and the severity of the case. For cystitis, there are treatments from a single dose up to seven days of schemes, "he says.

"Analgesics and / or anti-inflammatory drugs are used to control pain and discomfort in the bladder," adds the gynecologist.

"A very important advice is to take the antibiotic for the time prescribed by the doctor, for the improvement of symptoms does not mean that the infection is completely cleared. The interruption can lead to relapse, "says Patricia.

In general, it is generally recommended that people avoid sex for about a week (since the urethra is still bruised). And besides, it takes plenty of fluids (as she already able to urinate normally without pain).

Note that an acute infection can be treated by any professional trained for this. In cases of recurrent chronic infections (when they happen 4 or 5 or more times a year), the patient should resort to a medical specialist who, in turn, will investigate the cause of the problem.


According to Patricia, the chances of cure are good. "In case of no improvement, should review whether it was done correctly. Other possibilities are bacterial resistance to the antibiotics used or a complication "he says.

It reinforces the importance of dealing with the problem, to prevent any complications. "In the case of cystitis, the risk of not treating is basically the discomfort. But there is a possibility of infection spread to the kidneys. In pyelonephritis, infection can become widespread, causing interruption of the functioning of the kidneys, or severe pulmonary complications. In severe cases, can lead to death, "said the gynecologist.

How to prevent infection and care?

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

The basic guidelines, in accordance with Patricia, are taking liquid in sufficient quantity to leave clear the urine; urinating after intercourse; make the proper genital hygiene. "If a woman has many episodes of cystitis, your doctor may advise additional measures to prevent infection," he says.

They can be summarized as the main preventive measures:

  1. Take fluids in sufficient quantity to leave the urine clear;
  2. Urination after sexual intercourse;
  3. Make the correct genital hygiene (not doing, however, genital showers);
  4. Do not hold for long pee;
  5. Avoid too tight underwear or retain heat and humidity;
  6. Exchange absorbent diapers or (in the case of older women) often;
  7. Maintaining high immunity (through physical exercise, good nutrition);
  8. Search gynecologist in cases of landslides to address the problem;
  9. In the case of urinary tract infection has already occurred, taking the antibiotic properly as prescribed by the doctor;
  10. In case of repeated infections, seek medical expert to investigate the cause and deal with the problem the best way.

Urinary tract infection in pregnancy

During pregnancy, women are more susceptible to urinary tract infections, especially due to low immune system and increased protein in the urine (which causes further growth and development of bacteria).

The asymptomatic bacteriuria (when bacteria are detected on examination of urine, but the symptoms do not pregnant), for example, occurs in 2 to 7% of pregnant. Already acute cystitis occurs in approximately 1-2% of pregnant women; and the occurrence of pyelonephritis is 0.5 to 2%.

As in the case of pregnant women urinary tract infection is usually asymptomatic, it is essential that the professional who accompanies stay tuned, because a more serious infection can lead to miscarriage or premature birth.

Patricia reinforces the importance of treating all cases of urinary tract infection, even without symptoms, using antibiotics safe for use in pregnancy.

9 cleared doubts about urinary tract infections

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Check the answers to some common questions related to urinary tract infections:

1. Sex without a condom cause urinary tract infection?

"Sex without a condom does not increase the risk of infection. However, intercourse with or without a condom and using spermicides increase the risk, "says Maria Letícia.

2. It is true that the incidence is higher in pregnant? Because?

"The incidence is higher in pregnant, yes. hormonal and anatomical changes provide a more favorable environment for bacterial growth, "said the nephrologist.

3. Any burning urinating means infection or should investigate the causes of the problem?

"The burning during urination is an important symptom, can be caused by other diseases such as STD (urethritis, genital herpes) or candidiasis. But most of the time (90%) is due to cystitis, "said Maria Letícia.

Anyway, if this symptom, the doctor should always be sought so that, if it deems necessary, better investigate the causes of the problem.

4. Is there any way to relieve the burning sensation to urinate?

The use of antibiotics, and some anti-inflammatory analgesics for the urinary tract (such as "Pyridium") relieve burning, according to Maria Letícia.

Any of these drugs should be given by the doctor.

5. Urinary tract infection is contagious?

Maria Letícia points out that urinary tract infection is not contagious. Remember that the bacterium is of the own body and is not passed on.

6. It is normal not menstruating when you are with urinary infection?

According to Maria Letícia, urinary infection causes no alteration of the menstrual cycle.

7. Acidic fruits and chocolate worsen the UTI board?

The nephrologist states that sour fruit and chocolates do not cause worsening.

What is recommended in general, in the case of urinary tract infection and also as a prevention is the appropriate water consumption.

8. The color of urine can be used as an indicator of the amount of water intake?

"The color of urine is related to the amount of water we drink. The clearer, that we eat more water; darker or concentrated means that there was less water intake, "says Maria Letícia.

9. Why Urinary tract infection is more common in women?

"The UTI (urinary tract infections) are more common in women because the biggest risk factor is sexual activity and the anatomy of the female urinary tract, whose urethra is shorter in relation to men," says the doctor nephrologist.

With simple actions of everyday life, it is usually possible to prevent urinary infections. But in the case of any symptoms (burning or pain passing urine, increased urinary frequency etc.), a doctor you trust should be sought, so you can indicate the correct treatment and, if necessary, investigate the causes of the problem.