Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in the urinary system i.e. kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Infection is common in the lower urinary tract i.e. bladder and urethra. When infection spreads upwards and involves the kidney then it is serious.
Women are particularly prone to urine infection because of
- Short urethra
- Close proximity to the vagina
- Sexual intercourse especially with a new partner.
Factors such as presence of renal stones, abnormal anatomy of urinary tract, depressed immunity, diabetes, anaemia, steroid treatment, surgical procedure in pelvic area, catheter use can also predispose to urine infection.
Common symptoms for urine infection are
- Increased frequency of passing urine
- Burning and pain while passing urine.
- Blood tinged urine.
- Strong urge to pass urine … fear of leaking if not able to reach the wash room.
- A sense of incomplete emptying of the bladder.
- Lower abdominal pain.
- In case the infection involves the kidneys then one may also have pain in the flanks and back, fever with chills, nausea and vomiting.
If you have any if these symptoms, then you may need to see a doctor. It is advisable to get a urine routine test done. While collecting urine you must wipe the private area clean and then take the midstream sample in a sterile container.
The urine will show presence of pus cells which indicate infection. It will also show presence of blood, bacteria and sugar which will help in diagnosis and management. In most cases one will also need a urine culture and sensitivity test. This will show the bacteria that are growing in your body and also the antibiotic to which they are sensitive. This will enable the doctor to know exactly which antibiotic should be used for your treatment.
It is important to treat the urine infection with the correct antibiotic till the culture is clear. Inadequate dose, for inadequate period of time and /or inappropriate antibiotic will only lead to problems like recurrence of infection, resistance to antibiotics, and even ascending infection to the kidneys.
In pregnancy urine infection needs aggressive treatment as it can lead to preterm delivery which carries risk to the mother and the baby. While you are pregnant, if in case there are no symptoms but there are bacteria in the urine, even then it needs treatment.
In cases where the bacteria continue to persist, a low dose antibiotic may be required for a long duration eg. 6 weeks. This is common in diabetics and the menopausal.
If you have urine infection, it is advisable to drink plenty of water as it will help the antibiotic to reach the bladder and also flush the bacteria. Avoid Coffee and Colas as they may irritate the bladder. One must maintain good hygiene and use a feminine wash to clean the area. If you think you have urine infection, then feel free to make an appointment to see Dr Sangeeta Agrawal for a comprehensive evaluation and best treatment.