What is urinary tract infection?
Urinary tract infection is an infection of the urinary system i.e. your kidneys, bladder and urethra. UTI can be acute, chronic and recurrent.
Recurrent UTI is an infection that follows resolution of bacteria and symptoms of a prior UTI, especially when infection occurs within 6 months of the previous UTI or when three or more episodes of infection occur in a year.
Recurrent infection can be of two types-
- relapse or
Relapse is when the second episode of infection is caused by the same bacteria with 2 weeks of the original infection.
Reinfection is a UTI that occurs two or more weeks after completion of treatment of the original UTI. The organism causing infection can be same or different. Resistant UTI is also a case in which even after complete course of 14 days treatment your infection does not get resolved.
Complicated UTI: It is an infection associated with a structural or functional abnormality of the genitourinary tract or presence of underlying disease which increases the risk of infection or of failing therapy.
Signs and symptoms: burning during urination, pain, increased frequency of urination, feeling of incomplete evacuation, fever, lower abdomen pain.
Risk factors: Immuno compromised patients, catheterized patients, urinary tract obstruction, urolithiasis, neurological disorders, those who use spermicidal jellies or unsterile lubricants; atrophic vaginitis, cystocele, incontinence, uncontrolled diabetes mellitus; there is something called a honeymoon cystitis, post-surgical if catheterization was done, new sex partner or multiple sex partner.
Controversial reasons: BMI, bubble bath or excess using of tubs, douching, post coital voiding habits, H/O STD.
Age group: small girls, during pregnancy, pre and post-menopausal women
Preventive tips or life style changes:
- Empty bladder fully when urinating
- Urinate after sexual intercourse
- Wipe from front to back
- never used soiled fecal hands to touch your urinary and vaginal area
- drink plenty of water
- Post-menopausal ladies should avoid shower jets
- Avoid excess washing of genital area
- Avoid harsh soaps and lubricants
- Use cotton undergarments preferably
- Do not hold urine for long (myth you don’t get infection by urinating in public toilets till you have been in touch with a dirty surface)
- Use Indian toilets preferably or else squat 10. Meet the gynecologist once a year at least
- Avoid tight fitting clothes to be worn for long time periods (if not possible in working place, avoid as much as possible when at home),
- Ask male partner to maintain hygiene.
Diagnosis: urine routine and culture test, ultrasound for kidney, ureter, bladder, per vaginal examination, cystoscopy if required (leads to thickening of bladder wall causing cystitis)
Treatment: 80 % lies in prevention, rest take lots of probiotics naturally and if required in medicine form, get tested and treated in time; topical estrogens with recurrent UTI because of atrophic vaginitis (makes life so good), cranberry extract in form of juices, powders, syrups, long term use of antibiotics, self-medication on the initiation as advised by your doctor, immunotherapy.
Long term effects of UTI: kidney damage, sepsis, hospitalization and injectable antibiotics, pre mature delivery in case of pregnancy and fetal infection also