Happy Thanksgiving Eve!! I hope that everyone is having a great holiday week! I am currently on my lunch break at the hospital… anxiously awaiting 7 PM so I can go pick up my 1yo from my parent’s house and go home to cook a couple dishes for tomorrow! Shout out to all the nurses who will be working tomorrow instead of home with their families. You rock!
I had a couple requests to talk about UTIs over the past few weeks. So here is the rundown.
What is a UTI?
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) consist of any infection in the urinary tract. If the infection occurs in the bladder (cystitis) or the urethra, it is a lower UTI. If the infection takes place in the kidney (pyelonephritis) or the ureters, it is an upper UTI.
mini anatomy lesson below:
What causes UTIs?
UTIs are usually caused by bacteria, E.coli is the most common culprit. Bacteria will travel up the urethra and cause the infection in an otherwise sterile environment. This is why hygiene is so important in preventing UTIs. Women need to wipe front to back after using the toilet. Women also need to urinate after sexual intercourse to flush out any bacteria that was entered into the urethra.
What are the signs of a UTI?
- suprapubic pain- pain in the lower abdomen
- dysuria- pain with urination or difficulty urinating
- urinary frequency- the need to urinate many times a day and often during the night
- urinary urgency- the sudden urge to urinate, sometime leaking before reaching the restroom
- If you experience fever, nausea, vomiting, and/or pain in your back over your kidneys (CVA tenderness) you likely have an upper UTI (kidney infection).
Who is at higher risk of UTI?
Women, because of our anatomy and our short urethras.
Sexually active women, as discussed above. Some women need to take antibiotics after sexual intercourse for prevention.
Diabetics, women with type II diabetes often have hyperglycemia which inhibits the body’s natural defense system against infection.
Impaired bladder emptying, when we do not empty our bladder often enough we allow bacteria to sit and grow. This is why teachers and nurses are notorious for UTIs!
How do you treat a UTI?
UTI’s are treated with antibiotics. This is done with oral medications and does not require hospitalization. The exception to this is if you are pregnant and have an upper UTI. You will require IV antibiotics and be hospitalized.
How can you prevent UTIs?
- Increase your water intake
- Cranberry juice and cranberry supplements help prevent UTI’s
- Don’t hold your urine, go often
- Urinate after sex
- Wipe front to back
- Practice good hygiene
If you enjoyed this post, I’d be grateful if you’d help spread by emailing to a friend or sharing it on Facebook or Twitter. Thank you!
From your friendly neighborhood nurse!