How Many Types Of UTIs Are There?

UTIs, also known as urinary tract infections, are pretty common. They can affect various parts of the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, bladder, and urethra, per the National Health Service (NHS). In fact, UTIs are typically brought on by the bacteria that enter the urinary tract through the urethra, which is a tube that eliminates urine from the body. Once bacteria has entered, it can multiply and cause an infection in the bladder. The infection can affect anyone, but women are more susceptible since they have a shorter urethra than men.

Symptoms of a UTI may include cloudy or strong-smelling urine, a burning sensation when peeing, a strong urge to pee, regularly passing small amounts of urine, and for some women, pelvic pain. Suppose you suspect you may have a UTI. In that case, it's best to speak to your doctor, especially if you have a history of reoccurring UTIs, become pregnant, or have other underlying medical conditions.

The most common types of UTIs

There are three types of urinary tract infections (UTIs), each affecting different parts of the urinary tract. According to WebMD, they include cystitis, which mostly affects the bladder, pyelonephritis, which affects the kidneys, and urethritis is concentrated more on the urethra. Cystitis is typically caused by bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, also known as E. coli, that enter the urethra and travel to the bladder, says the Mayo Clinic. As mentioned before, the condition can cause symptoms such as frequent and painful urination and a strong urge to urinate. On the other hand, pyelonephritis causes cloudy and bloody urine, painful urination, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and back pain. Lastly, urethritis causes inflammation in the urethra, difficulty urinating, and pain during sex. 

If left untreated, UTIs can lead to bloodstream infections, like sepsis, so prompt medical treatment is vital, explains the National Health Service (NHS).

How are UTIs treated?

To diagnose a UTI, your doctor may ask about your symptoms and collect a urine sample to test for bacteria, white blood cells, or other signs of infection, says the Mayo Clinic. Additional tests, such as an ultrasound or a CT scan, may be ordered to look for further issues in the urinary tract. In most cases, treatment for UTIs typically involves antibiotics. However, the type and duration of antibiotic treatment will depend on the type of bacteria causing the infection, the severity of the infection, and other factors, such as the patient's age and medical history.

Even if symptoms improve, following your doctor's instructions and taking the full course of antibiotics as prescribed is vital. This will ensure that the infection is fully treated and prevent the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In addition to antibiotics, pain relievers may be recommended to help alleviate discomfort associated with the infection. Aside from taking your medication, drink plenty of fluids to help flush out the bacteria and avoid caffeine and alcohol.