Preventing Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is a serious health problem affecting millions of people each year, reported by the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearing House. It is considered to be the second most common type of infection in human body today. At increased risk of UTI are pregnant women, or women in general, children, elderly, hospitalized patients with catheters, previous urinary tract surgeries, urinary retention, immobile patients and people with kidney stones and diabetes.

Symptoms
Some people with UTI are asymptomic while other affected individuals experience symptoms.

Very common symptom is dysuria, or painful urination. One may feel a burning sensation either in the bladder or urethral area during urination.

Another symptom, although not evident to every affected individual, is low fever.

Cloudy or bloody and foul smelling urine is also another symptom.

And there is increased frequency and urge to urinate even if only small amount of urine is passed out every time.

Symptoms such as chills, body malaise, fever 38+ Degrees Celsius, flushed skin, flank or back pain, mental alterations such as confusion and severe abdominal pain or nausea and vomiting may indicate that the infection has gone up to the kidneys already.

In children, it is difficult to assess for UTI since the child cannot describe or complain right away what he might be feeling. Non-verbal actions of the child such as being irritable, loss of appetite, incontinence, or fever that is not relieved by paracetamol are the common presentation of UTI. Fever is more common in children than in adults, while confusion might possibly be the only evident symptom in elderly.

Diagnosis
Usually, UTI is diagnosed through urine analysis that will test the presence of white and blood cells, bacteria or pus. It is an utmost importance to teach the patient how to properly get sample urine. A midstream, clean catch is to be done, meaning the patient needs to wash first the genital area and then collect the urine during midstream; do not collect right away the first urine that comes out. This is important because it can help prevent contamination of the sample urine and prevent a false positive test. Culture and sensitivity is done from the collected sample.

If you have recurrent UTI, an ultrasound exam may be recommended. Cystoscopy is another useful test wherein a cystoscope is used because it allows the examiner to see inside part of the urinary tract, from the urethra to the bladder. Intravenous pyelogram is another test that is used when an infection does not clear up with treatment.

Treatments
Prompt treatment of UTI is very important, because when left untreated, one can be at greater risk of developing kidney damage. Antibiotic is the drug used to treat the infection. Sensitivity test is done in order to know which antibiotic works best.

Prevention
This infection is very preventable. Doctors suggest these easy reminders to avoid this infection especially to women:

• Do not hold urine; when you feel the urge, urinate.

• Drink adequate amount of water everyday (8-10 glasses)

• Showers are better than tub baths

• After every urination, wipe from front to back, not back to front, with clean tissue paper while avoiding the use of sprays

• Clean genital area before and after sexual intercourse. Also urinate after.

• Avoid alcohol and caffeine because it can irritate the bladder

• Wear cotton underwear

• Avoid douching

• Use sanitary napkins and tampons

• Drink cranberry juice

 


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