Chronic Urinary Tract Infection
A chronic UTI is a condition in which the infection does not react to any treatment. Despite treatment, you may continue to have the infection or it may recur after the treatment has been administered.
When the infection is limited to the urinary tract it is easy to treat, but it gets complicated if it spreads to the kidneys. Though UTIs may affect anyone at any age, it occurs more in women.
Causes and Types
UTIs are basically bacterial infections that are caused when bacteria enter the urinary tract via the urethra and multiply within the bladder.
There are two types of infections. They are as follows:
- Bladder infections
Cystitis is an infection in the bladder caused by a bacterial species called E.Coli. These bacteria are present in animal and human intestines, which is normal. It causes an infection only when it exits the intestines. Proper cleaning and wiping after using the washroom and after anal intercourse is very important to prevent the E.Coli from remaining and multiplying.
- Urethral infections
This is also known as urethritis and it could also be caused by E.Coli. However, urethritis could also be transmitted sexually like gonorrhoea, chlamydia or herpes.
Why are women more prevalent?
Chronic UTIs occur easily in women because the urethra is much shorter in women than it is in men, which makse it easier for bacteria to enter the bladder. Also, the urethra lies close to the rectum where E.coli may easily pass to the urethra while washing or wiping or if either are not done properly.
Symptoms that your bladder is being affected by a UTI are as follows:
- Frequent urination
- Dark or bloody urine
- Pain in the kidneys area
- Burning sensation when urinating
In case the infection spreads to the kidney, you may experience the following:
- Mental disorientation
- Nausea & vomiting
To reach a diagnosis, a urine sample is performed and checked to see if bacteria are present.
If idney damage is suspected, kidney scans and X-rays are done to confirm the same.
For recurring UTIs, a cystoscopy is performed. A thin, long tube attached to a small lens at one end is used to observe the bladder and urethra.
UTIs can be treated in a week’s time with antibiotics. However, for chronic UTIs, antibiotics with low doses are prescribed for a long term treatment. This may reduce the recurrence of symptoms. Additionally, regular urine tests are done in order to check if there are any infections.
Women who have UTIs due to menopause must discuss this with the doctor for an appropriate treatment plan.
Pain medications are prescribed for people who experience burning sensations while urinating to numb the urethra. For a temporary home remedy, a hot water bag placed against the bladder can be used to ease pain.
Prevention of Recurring Infections
The following tips will be useful to prevent the recurrence of UTIs for those who are susceptible to them.
- Never hold back your urine and urinate as frequently as needed.
- Drink lots of water
- Wipe from front to the back after you urinate
- Try not to wear tight-fitting trousers
- Wear cotton underwear
- Don’t go for bubble baths
- Do not use spermicides or diaphragms as measures of birth control
Complications Involved in Chronic UTIs
The following complications may be involved in people with recurring UTIs:
- Septicemia – when the bacteria start entering the bloodstream
- Sepsis – harmful bacteria and their toxins
- Kidney related issues- kidney damage, kidney infections, etc.
- Risk of having a premature delivery and having an underweight baby born
Outlook for Chronic UTI
UTIs are easily treatable at the early stages. Seek immediate medical attention in case you notice the symptoms returning. Try not to complicate the issue by allowing it to pass on to the next stage.