Pathophysiology of Urinary Tract Infections

Pathophysiologyof Urinary Tract Infections

Pathophysiologyof lower and upper urinary tract infections

Thelower urinary tract infection affects the bladder, often referred toas cystitis. Infections of the urethra in women (urethritis) andprostate in men (prostatitis) are also categorized as lower urinarytract infections. Upper urinary tract infections are infections ofthe kidney (pyelonephritis). This type of urinary tract infectionoccurs when bacteria is left in the bladder during urination(McPhee &amp Hammer, 2012).Stone in the bladder, narrow urethra or enlarging prostate may blockthe flow of urine. In this regard, urine in the urinary tract mayfail to come out with the urine, causing lower urinary tractinfection. Catheter or other instruments in the urinary tract mayintroduce bacteria in the bladder and cause lower urinary tractinfection(McPhee &amp Hammer, 2012).This type of disease causes an urge for urination, and burningsensation during urination.

Theupper urinary tract infection occurs when infection spreads to thekidney due to the movement of bacteria through the bloodstream.Escherichiacolibacteria in the large intestines are a common cause of upper urinarytract infection (Huether &amp McCance, 2012). Large kidney stonesmay cause blockage of urine, leading to flow of bacteria throughbloodstream up the urinary tract, and into the kidney. People withupper urinary tract infection have frequent urge for urination,burning sensation during urination, fever, pain in the back, vomitingand chills.

Factorsaffecting the lower and upper urinary tract infections

Twocommon factors affecting UTI are gender and behaviour. UTI is usuallycommon in women, especially during their reproduction period. Thedisease affects women because the length of their urethra is short.The urethra is also close to the anus and vagina where bacteriareside (Huether &amp McCance, 2012). Pregnancy also causes UTI inwomen because it interferes with the process of urination, leading toblockage in the urinary tract and the bladder. In terms of behaviour,sexual intercourse is a common behaviour that affects the urinarytract infection. The motion caused by sexual activity leads tomovement of bacteria up the urinary tract to the urethra, and to thebladder and kidney.


Huether,S. E., &amp McCance, K. L. (2012).Understanding pathophysiology (Laureate custom ed.). St.Louis, MO: Mosby

McPhee,S.J., &amp Hammer, G.D. (2012). Pathophysiologyof disease: An introduction to clinical medicine (Laureate Education,Inc., custom ed.).New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Medical