The kidneys perform the important function of filtering the blood and this process leads to the formation of the waste product, i.e. urine. The important minerals and nutrients are retained by the kidneys in the blood, and the unwanted, waste materials are filtered out. Such water soluble waste then passes from the kidneys via the narrow pipes called ureters and get collected in the bladder in the form of urine. The urine is then eliminated from the body via a tube known as urethra.
Urine generally tends to have a sterile nature. However, bacteria may occasionally pass onto different areas of the urinary tract. This may result in multiplication of bacteria. When the growth of bacteria is found in a sample of urine, then the affected individual is diagnosed with a condition called bacteriuria. It is generally referred to as urinary tract infection, when more than 100,000 pathogenic bacteria per milliliter of urine, is detected in the sample of urine. It is important that such bacteria belong to a single species.
Bacteria in Urine – Test
When a urine sample is detected with different types or species of bacteria, then it is possible that the sample is probably contaminated. In such a scenario, a new sample of urine would be needed for a fresh diagnosis to detect the presence of bacteria in urine.
When infected by bacteria in urine, the affected patients usually tend to visit a doctor with complaints of symptoms such as painful urination or the presence of burning sensations during urination. The doctor may then ask for a test of the urine that involves a urinalysis as well as a microbial culture of the sample of urine. The results obtained from the above tests aid in confirmation of bacteria in urine and also provide other necessary information.
Bacteria in urine may cause some symptoms or it may be asymptomatic. An individual who is affected by the presence of an excessive number of bacteria in the urinary tract but does not experience any symptoms is said to be affected by the asymptomatic form of bacteria in urine. This type of bacterial infection in urine is not serious in nature. However, any individual who has undergone a kidney transplant, or is diabetic; or if the said individual is a pregnant women, then that person needs to seek medical attention even for asymptomatic cases of bacteria in urine. Untreated cases of urinary tract infection and bacteria in urine can result in serious health complications.
Symptoms of bacteria in urine
- Increased pressure during urination
- Sensations of pain and burning during urination
- Persistent urge to urinate
- Putrid smelling urine
- Bloody urine
Causes of bacteria in urine
Urine does not contain considerable number of microorganisms. In certain cases, bacteria may enter the urinary system and make its presence felt in the form of bacteria in urine and other visible symptoms. The different kinds of bacteria that can infect the urinary system and be detected in a urine sample are Enterococcus faecalis, Chlamydia, Escherichia coli, Lactobacillus and Klebsiella pneumoniae
A few of the above mentioned bacteria are perennially present in the gastrointestinal tract and may pass to the urethra from the bowel. Hence, individuals who do not maintain good personal hygiene are at an increased vulnerability to developing bacteria in urine.
Women are generally more vulnerable to infections of the bladder as compared to men. This is because women have shorter urethral duct. Additionally, the urethral tube is really close to the vagina and also the anus. When women become pregnant there is a change in the way the urinary tract is positioned, which increases the risk to development of bacteria in urine. Hence, it is advisable for pregnant women to regularly visit their physicians and get a urinalysis as well as a urine culture done, so as to check for bacteria in urine.
Any infection of the urinary tract in children may result in the development of a medical condition known as vesicoureteral reflux which causes the urine to flow back to the ureters from the bladder. This may lead to the growth of bacteria in urine
Inflammation or enlargement of the prostate is generally the most likely cause of bladder infections in men, leading to bacteria in urine. Infections of the urinary tract is also possible when there is any blockage of the urine flow as a result of kidney stones, or when there in incomplete elimination of urine from the bladder.
Withholding urine for prolonged periods can also increase the risk to bacterial infections in urine. Additionally, prolonged use of bladder catheters increase the vulnerability to developing bacteria in urine
Treatment of bacteria in urine
- Asymptomatic cases of bacteria in urine generally do not need any treatment, except for pregnant women and individuals with weakened immune systems. Such people need to consult a doctor for appropriate treatment.
- Bacterial infections of the kidneys may be treated via antibiotics. Kidney stones and other diseases of the kidney may be treated by the doctor as per the individual cases and surgery may be one of the options
- Infections of the urinary tract may be treated with different antibiotics.