Urinary tract infections are very common, especially among women. However, people mostly talk about infections caused by bacteria like E. coli. UTIs can also be caused by fungi, which require a different kind of treatment plan. Understanding how a fungal UTI differs from the more common bacterial UTI is important to finding the appropriate treatment method for you.
A fungal urinary tract infection is a type of infection that causes irritation and inflammation along the urinary tract, which includes the urethra, bladder, ureters and kidneys. Various kinds of candida, a type of fungus, are the most common cause of fungal UTIs. Typical causes include catheterization and the use of antibiotics. In some cases, a fungal infection can occur at the same time as a bacterial infection.
Some patients with a fungal UTI experience no symptoms at all. However, if the infection has taken hold in the urethra or bladder, you may notice urinary urgency and frequency as well as pain upon urination. In severe cases, a fever or impaired kidney function may be noticed. In women, an accompanying yeast infection is common.
Diagnosing a Fungal UTI
Diagnosing a fungal UTI is similar to diagnosing a bacterial one. A urinalysis will be done to look for the presence of candida in the urine. Other conditions will need to be considered first, however, such as urethritis, a urinary blockage or a contamination of candida before a diagnosis can be made. Renal candidiasis may be diagnosed if a fever is present and balls of fungus are expelled in the urine.
Treating a fungal urinary tract infection is fairly straightforward. Antifungal drugs are usually the best option. For instance, fluconazole will help kill the fungus and eliminate your uncomfortable symptoms. Intravenous drugs may be required if the infection has spread to your kidneys. Some types of fungi are not susceptible to fluconazole, so an alternative antifungal may need to be utilized.
In some cases, a fungal urinary tract infection can cause long-term problems. For instance, fungus balls can accumulate in the urinary tract, which may cause a blockage. Abscesses as well as papillary necrosis can occur if the infection is left untreated. Kidney function may deteriorate, though kidney failure isn't likely once the obstruction is removed.
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