Escherichia coli or E. Coli is a bacteria that is responsible for close to 85 percent of all urinary tract infections, this is according to a 2012 report published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. Other bacteria may also cause urinary tract infections such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus saprophyticus, and Klebsiella pneumonia. Urinary tract infections mostly occur when bacteria, through the urethra, enter the urinary tract.
The bacteria begin to grow and multiply in bladder. Naturally, the body has a mechanism to help fight foreign invaders like bacteria, and the urinary tract is well adapted for that role. However, these microbes can overwhelm the body’s natural defense and begin to multiply. The bacteria multiply and grow into a full infection within the urinary tract causing many problems.
White blood cells that are seen in an infection of the urinary tract are the ones that are released by the body to fight the infection. The lining of the urethra is much affected by the infections. Since the lining has microscopic blood vessels, blood cells that fight foreign invaders are released to fight the bacteria infection on the mucous lining.
Some of the white blood cells may leak into the urine. E. Coli may be detected in urine during routine checkups or after a patient shows symptoms of the infections. UTIs occur in different forms with varying symptoms. Acute pyelonephritis is a urinary tract infection that affects the kidneys. A urinary tract infection of the bladder may be referred to as cystitis. This is mainly caused by E. Coli bacteria that is commonly seen in gastrointestinal tract.
Cystitis may arise from sexual intercourse though one does not need to be sexually active so that they develop it. Women are at risk of developing cystitis due to their anatomy particularly the short distance from anus to the urethra as well as the urethral opening to bladder.
Another form of urinary tract infection is the urethritis, which affects urethra. This kind of UTI may occur when gastrointestinal bacteria spread from anus and reach the urethra. In addition to that, because the urethra is close to vagina, other diseases such as gonorrhea, herpes, and Chlamydia may also cause urethritis.
Symptoms of UTIs
Urinary tract infections do not always present signs and symptoms. Some may remain masked in body for a long time. however, when symptoms do occur, they may include strong and persistent urge for one to urinate.
A person may have a burning sensation when they urinate. The urine passing may appear cloudy while at other times, a person may feel pain in the pelvic and rectal area. Other symptoms that come with UTIs are such as passing urine frequently or passing small amounts. Sometimes the urine may appear bright pink, red, or cola colored which indicates presence of blood.
How is E. Coli diagnosed in urine?
When a patient is suspected of having a urinary tract infection, a detailed history should be taken from the patient. A sample drawn from the midstream urine is taken and placed in a sterilized cup. The urine sample is analyzed to look for white blood cells, bacteria, or red blood cells. In order to prevent contaminating the urine sample being draw with microbes outside the urinary tract, one may need to wipe the genital area using a pad that is soaked in an antiseptic. The best sample is that which is collected midstream.
Another way of examining the infections is by growing a bacterial culture in lab. A urine culture may be used to grow bacteria in lab. Such test is able to tell the kind of bacteria that may be causing the urinary tract infection and the appropriate medicines that may be administered.
In other cases, doctors may use imaging machines to examine the urinary tract system of any abnormalities. Ultrasound scan and CT scan can be applied to give details of the urinary tract system and find out if there are abnormalities that may be causing the infection. A cystoscopy may be performed using a cystoscope to see the bladder and urethra.
Treatment of UTIs caused by E. Coli bacteria
People who have bacteria in their blood stream, a condition known a bacteremia, may infect the kidney through what is referred to as hematogenous spread. In the same way, people who have infected areas that are close or connected to the urinary tract for instance fistula, prostate, and epididymis have increased risk of getting urinary tract infections. However, pregnancy may not necessarily increase the risk of having UTIs.
Antibiotics are used to treat urinary tract infections. The symptoms usually clear within a short time following the treatment but one may need to continue using the medicines for the specified period of time. If an UTI is less complicated, a shorter-term dosage may be prescribed such as use of antibiotics for about three days.