Women with Urinary Tract Infections
What is Urinary Tract Infection?
Your urinary system consists of kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Kidneys produce the urine which is then passed down the ureters into the bladder. The bladder stores the urine for a few hours before we empty it through the urethra which is the water pipe. UTI or urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria enters this system, either through the urethra into the bladder or via the blood directly into the kidneys.
Urinary infections are more common in women because of shorter water pipe (urethra). The incidence of UTI in women is 1:3 compared to men 1:20.
Cystitis or Bladder Infection
When bacteria enter the bladder through the water pipe they can lead to the infection and inflammation of the bladder called cystitis. These infections are caused by bacteria from the bowel usually by spreading from the skin around the back passage to the urethra and then into the bladder.
Kidney Infection (Pyelonephritis)
Upper tract urinary infections often occur from bacteria which have travelled upwards to the kidney from the bladder or organisms spreading through the blood stream into the kidney. Pyelonephritis is a serious condition which can cause severe pain along with high grade temperature, shivering and feeling very unwell. The majority of these patients require admission to be treated with IV antibiotics and further assessment of the cause of infection.
Women at high risk of urinary infection include:
- Sexually active women
- Use of contraceptive diaphragms and spermicides
- Pregnant women
- Presence of urinary stones can act as a focus for infection
- Any inborn abnormality of urinary tract causing obstruction, dilatation or reflux of urine back into the kidney
Symptoms of urinary infection may include:
- Discomfort and pain when passing urine
- Pain in the lower abdomen and back
- Fever with chills
- Nausea and vomiting
- Frequency of urine with urgency
- Strong smelling urine
- Presence of blood in the urine either visible or on dipstick test
- Pain during sexual intercourse
You will be seen in the Urology Clinic by Mr Syed who will take detailed history of your symptoms. You will also be examined in the clinic followed by a series of following tests:
- Urine test - dipstick/microscopy
- Blood test to check your kidney function, Us and Es and full blood count
- Plain X-ray, along with ultrasound scan of your abdomen and pelvis
- Computerised tomography (CT) is required in selected cases where more information is needed to assess your kidneys and bladder
- Cystoscopy or telescopic examination of your bladder which can be carried out either under local with a flexible scope or in patients of recurrent UTI preferably as a general anaesthesia procedure when a bladder biopsy or a dilatation of the urethra can be carried out at the same time.
Mr Syed will have a detailed chat with you once all these investigations are available. Further plan for treatment is made in light of the findings of these tests.
- Drink several glasses of water or clear fluids each day. Fluid intake keeps the urine dilute with regular bladder emptying
- Wipe from front to back in order to prevent spread of bacteria from the back passage. Women should always wipe toilet tissue from front to back after having a bowel movement.
- Empty your bladder after sexual intercourse. If you are suffering with recurrent urinary tract infections and had no response to antibiotics please contact the following:
Spire Little Aston Hospital
Telephone: 0121 580 7405
Fax: 0121 352 1971
Comprehensive diagnostic service for a wide range of urological conditions