The Department of Urogynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) tells you all you need to know about urinary tract infections (UTIs) - symptoms, diagnosis and how to prevent them.
When you’re rushing to the toilet once too often and it’s more a pain than a relief, it could be that troublesome urinary tract infection (UTI) again.
Spot the signs of urinary tract infection
It could be urinary tract infection when you:
- Experience a “burning” pain on passing urine.
- Have the urge to pass urine quickly.
- Pass urine more frequently than normal.
- Pass bloodstained, cloudy urine, or foul-smelling urine.
- Experience lower abdominal or loin pain, with or without fever.
Risk factors for urinary tract infection
You are heading for UTI if you have/are:
- Sexually active, especially with multiple sexual partners.
- Diabetes mellitus.
- Kidney stones.
- Had recent instrumentation of the bladder, eg introducing a rubber catheter into the bladder.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Neurogenic voiding disorder.
How to confirm that you have urinary tract infection
A sample of urine can confirm UTI.
The following are some diagnostic and treatment options and suggestions for follow-up care:
- Your doctor will screen your urine samples for infection.
- Antibiotics will be prescribed.
- Consume at least two litres of water a day, especially during hot days or - if exercising.
- Take more vitamin C daily.
- Further assessment of the urinary system, by doing a renal ultrasound intravenous pyelogram, diagnostic cystoscopy, urine for tuberculosis and cytology to exclude any bladder growths/tumours.
Tips to prevent and care for UTI
- Wipe the groin area from front to back to prevent bacteria from spreading from the rectal area to the vagina and ascending to the bladder.
- Avoid potential irritants such as vaginal deodorants, vaginal douching agents and bubble baths.
- Wash the genital area often, especially before and after sexual intercourse. Voiding after intercourse is encouraged.
- Empty your bladder fully to prevent bacteria from multiplying in the bladder.
- Seek treatment for vaginal/ lower genital tract infection to prevent it from spreading. Drink cranberry juice to prevent UTI.
Most UTI s are bladder infections, and normally not serious. However, if untreated, the infection can spread to the kidneys and lead to irreversible renal damage.