Recurrent urinary tract infection in women
Recurrent UTI means the infection occurs frequently and it could be chronic. Women might acquire UTI twice every six months or may be thrice a year.
What causes recurrent UTI in women?
The bacterium Escherichia coli is primarily responsible of UTI. Repeated infections occur when the bacteria remains in the fecal flora despite disposal from the urinary tract. It invades the bladder and the urinary tract several times, which leads to recurrent infections.
What are the symptoms of recurrent UTI?
You will be quite familiar with the symptoms as this won’t be a new episode for you.
UTI sets in with pain and burning sensation while urinating. The urine usually smells foul due to the infection. You might be having fever, abdominal pain, vomiting and nausea due to delayed treatment.
What are the risk and predisposing factors?
About 20% of young women who had UTI before can have recurrent infection. This might continue for 1-2 years and then the frequency would reduce.
- Frequent change of sexual partners
- Pregnant women are vulnerable
- Postmenopausal women with urinary incontinence, cystocele and bladder abnormalities
- Women who have high volume of postvoid residual urinary volume i.e. > 50mL
- Women with chronic renal disease, diabetes mellitus, or with kidney transplant
- Side effect of immunosuppressant medications
- Indwelling of catheter
- Use of spermicides
- History of surgery in urinary tract
- Women with immunodeficiency disease- HIV or AIDS
How is recurrent UTI diagnosed?
The tests for recurrent UTI are similar to those of first instance of UTI. Your doctor will carefully evaluate the reason behind the repetitive episodes and check the reports of past UTI. The predisposing and risk facts will also be reviewed in details.
You need to undergo the following tests:
- Urine analysis and urine culture test
- CT scan and ultrasound of urinary tract, ultrasound bladder and ultrasound kidneys
- Cystoscopy of the bladder and urinary tract
Further tests may be suggested depending upon your medical condition
Treatment for recurring UTI
Managing recurrent UTI involves eliminating the risk factors. Once they are sorted out, the frequency of occurrence decreases.
Antibiotic therapy, usually of low dose is continued for a certain period of time to increase the immunity of your body against E.coli and other pathogens.
Intermittent antibiotics may also be prescribed during high risk times like after sexual intercourse
Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics that you can take by yourself on predicting urinary tract infection. Simply put, it’s a self treatment strategy.
Estrogen replacement may be done on postmenopausal women
Guidance for women with recurrent UTI
- Take extra care while having intercourse. Stop using spermicides, instead use water based lubricants. Clean your genital and encourage your partner to do the same before indulging
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. You can also have cranberry juice to treat yourself with some good dose of vitamin C
- Wear loose cotton underwear and avoid tight fitting pants and inners
- Pass urine when you need to. Avoid using unclean toilets in public places unless in dire emergency.
- Make sure you dry your private parts after urinating with a fresh unscented tissue
- Take your medicines on time and complete the dose.
You will be less vulnerable to having UTI when you follow the guidelines we have provided here, along with your doctor’s advice.
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Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: February 25, 2016