The urinary system is comprised of two kidneys, two ureters, the bladder and urethra. It has threeprimary functions: (1) the removal of organic waste materials from body fluids through excretion, (2)the discharge of these waste materials through elimination; and (3) the homeostatic regulation of bloodvolume, blood pressure, and the concentration of solutes in plasma. Other homeostatic mechanismswork to stabilize blood pH, conserve nutrients through reabsorption, and assist the liver indetoxification.A urinary tract infection (UTI) is caused when a pathogen invades the urothelial cells anywhere along theurinary tract. The location of where the infection takes place has different names, such as cystitis for abladder infection or pyelonephritis for a kidney infection. This paper will focus on uncomplicated acutecystitis.Urinary tract infections are the second highest occurring infection in humans, following respiratory tractinfections. UTIs result in as many as seven million office visits and more than one million emergencyroom visits each year. UTIs are more common in women than in men because of differences inanatomy, and changes in sexual maturation, pregnancy and childbirth. 50% of all women willexperience an UTI within her lifetime, while 25% of those women will experience recurrence. Others atrisk are those with catheters, obstructions such as kidney stones, or those with diabetes mellitus. Foruncomplicated acute cystitis, 90% of those infections are caused by uropathogenic Escherichia coli(UPEC).There are several symptoms that occur when the bladder is infected. These include a strong, frequenturge to urinate even though the bladder is empty, pain or burning when urinating, pressure or crampingin the lower abdomen, and the presence of cloudy or bloody urine that may have a strong odor. If leftuntreated, the infection can spread to the kidneys resulting in more severe symptoms including chronicrenal failure. Speaking from personal experience, UTIs are aggravating and they do hurt. The frequent,
strong urges to pee can really disrupt one’s day making
it nearly impossible to get any work done.
The body has several defenses in place to combat invasion by pathogens in order to maintainhomeostasis. With the UTI, such defenses include the composition of urine, the micturition reflex, andthe innate and adaptive immune responses.In The Journal of Clinical Investigation, Donald Kaye, in his article Antibacterial Activity of Human Urine,
discussing the kinetics of urinary tract infection O’Grady and Cattell emphasized as a host
defense mechanism the importance of the mechanical effect of urine flow in diluting and removingbacteria from the urinary tract . . . in the present study, urine from normal individual is often inhibitoryand sometimes bactericidal for growth of these organisms
.” From Kaye’s research study, it
is noted thatthe pH and the concentration of urea provide an inhibitory effect on bacteria. The data showed that ata pH of 5.0, the strongest inhibitory effect was found. Additionally, the greater the concentration of urea, the greater the inhibitory effect on bacterial growth.