Urinary Tract Infections

Just like a normal, healthy woman, pregnant women are also susceptible to urinary tract infections. These are known as UTIs affecting ones kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Hormonal and mechanical changes increase the likelihood of urinary stasis as well as vesicoureteral reflux. The lower urinary tract infections are more common, involving the bladder and urethra. Women are more prone to UTIs than men because a female urethra is shorter and close to the vagina. Associated symptoms of a UTI vary depending on the organism; however there are some common ones:

  • Robust, tenacious urge to urinate
  • Burning sensation upon urination
  • Frequent amount of small urine passed
  • Cloudy urine
  • Red, bright pink, cola-colored urine = blood in urine
  • Foul smelling urine or urine with a strong odor
  • Women – pelvic pain
  • Men – rectal pain

These symptoms vary upon the type of UTI an individual has:

  • Kidney – acute pyelonephritis
    • Upper back pain
    • Flank pain
    • High fever
    • Shaking
    • Chills
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
  • Bladder – cystitis
    • Pelvic pressure
    • Lower abdominal discomfort
    • Painful and frequent urination
    • Blood in the urine
  • Urethra – urethritis
    • Burning upon urination.

UTIs may be frequent and normal, but they are still dangerous if they are left untreated. Kidney infections are the most detrimental, so if you reside in Denver, visit the Denver Holistic center as soon as you feel these symptoms.

In order to fully understand a treatment plan, it is important the physician learns the root of the problem. Majority of the time a UTI occurs because a bacterium enters the urinary tract through the urethra and multiplies within the bladder. Causes of UTIs include:

  • Cystitis
    • Most common cause – coli
    • Sexual intercourse
  • Urethritis
    • GI bacteria spread from anus to urethra
      • Women are advised to wipe from their front to behind (urethra to anus) when they are in the bathroom to avoid this spread.

Risk factors are:

  • Female
  • Sexually active
  • Certain types of birth control
  • Post menopause
  • Urinary tract abnormalities
  • Blockage of urinary tract
  • Suppressed immune system
  • Catheter use.

When these risk factors are combined with the causes and symptoms, the complications of an UTI are: recurrent infections, permanent kidney damage, and an increased risk of low birth baby if attained during pregnancy. During pregnancy, a woman’s immune system is weakened, yet the prevalence of UTIs is the same as a non-pregnant woman. Physicians must be really thorough and complete the following tests and procedures:

  • Analyze the urine sample
    • White blood cells
    • Red blood cells
    • Bacterial count/Nitrite test
  • Growing urinary tract bacteria in the lab to determine cause
  • Images of the urinary tract to assess where the infection is
  • Scoping the bladder.

Then treatment options may be discussed:

  • Simple infection ( coliPseudomonas a.Klebsiella)
    • Antibiotics
      • Cephalexin 500 mg 4 times a day
      • Ampicillin 500 mg 4 times a day
      • Nitrofurantoin 100 mg twice a day
      • Sulfisoxazole 1 g 4 times a day
      • Many coli strains are resistant to ampicillin and amoxicillin, so they are not optimal
      • Fluoroquinolones are contraindicated in pregnancy
      • Chloramphenicol is contraindicated in pregnancy
    • Chronic infections
      • Longer course of antibiotics
      • Regular checkups
      • Antibiotics post-sexual intercourse
      • Vaginal estrogen
    • Severe infection
      • IV antibiotics
    • Alternative medications
      • Cranberry juice
      • Lifestyle changes
        • Drink plenty of water
        • Use a heating pad
        • Urinate after sexual intercourse
        • Avoid irritating feminine products in the genital area.

Urinary tract infections are very irritating and may affect one’s ability to function in a social environment. If you are someone who easily attains UTIs, seek medical attention and try to avoid situations which will aggravate your infection. Pregnancy adds stress on the body and women should avoid additional infections.