There are several common bacterial strains present with a urinary tract infection, also known simply as a UTI or cystitis. A UTI is classified by a bacterial growth in one or more of the system’s structures (the bladder, urethra, kidneys, and ureters). This is probably the most common type of bacterial infection and has no prejudice against gender, age, or ethnicity. A UTI can occur in virtually any human body. More than 95% of the UTI infections start at the urethra (opening in the genital area where the urine stream comes out), and travels up through the bladder and the remainder of the system through the bloodstream.
Causes of Urinary Tract Infection
There are uncomplicated and complicated UTI’s. Uncomplicated is usually caused by the E. coli strain, affecting women more often than men, but are quite easily treated. Cystitis is the alternative name for a bladder infection, which is more often associated with an uncomplicated UTI. Pyelonephritis (kidneys) is when the infection runs through the bloodstream and into kidneys.
A complicated UTI is much more severe and difficult to treat, generally taking several high-dose antibiotics. These complicated infections are often caused by anatomical blockages that prevent the clearing of the infection, catheter usage, dysfunction of the bladder or kidney transplant. Complicated infections can very easily become recurrent because of their difficulty in treatment.
The strains that are most commonly responsible for uncomplicated UTI are E. coli, Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Klebsiella, Enterococci, Proteus mirabilis, Ureaplasma urealyticum and Mycoplasma hominis (these last two are extremely rare). Organisms responsible for the more severe complicated infections include a severe form of E. coli that spreads to the bloodstream; Klebsiella, Proteus mirabilis, and Citrobacter species in patients with anatomical or structural abnormalities in these systems; Candida albicans; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Enterobacter; and Serratia.
Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection
The symptoms would depend on patient medical history and whether the infection is complicated or uncomplicated. Generally speaking, symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Frequent urination
- Burning or pain with urination
- Pressure and/or discomfort in the pelvic area or lower abdomen
- Back pain in the area of the kidneys
- The urine will look cloudy or have blood in it. It may also smell very strong.
Treatment for Urinary Tract Infection with Amoxicillin
Fortunately, the majority of the above species are sensitive to the antibiotic, amoxicillin, at high dosages; however, the severe and complicated infections may need to have amoxicillin combined with other antibiotics for adequate treatment. Treatment for complicated and recurrent infections may need to be closely monitored by a multidisciplinary team of infectious disease, internal medicine, nephrology and urology practitioners. Uncomplicated infections can usually be treated with amoxicillin as monotherapy.