What Causes Chronic Urinary Tract Infection
This is where the science gets a little more complicated.
Weve talked elsewhere about what causes UTIs. And above, we explained that recurrent UTIs can be attributed to a persistent bladder infection that is not properly eradicated by treatment.
A persistent bladder infection can last for years in the form of a chronic urinary tract infection. For many females, the cycle of acute and symptom-free periods is never broken, and some move on to be diagnosed with the conditions mentioned above, such as Interstitial Cystitis , or Painful Bladder Syndrome . More on that later.
Why has it been so difficult to detect and treat these infections?
There is a culprit here, so lets take a closer look. Behind the misdiagnosis of hundreds of thousands of people, are embedded chronic urinary tract infections that involve biofilms.
What Is A Uti
A UTI refers to an infection in any part of your urinary system, including your kidneys, bladder, and urethra. It most commonly occurs in your lower urinary tract, where the bladder and urethra are located.
Women can be as much as 30 times more likely to develop UTIs than men due to a shorter urethra. This means that bacteria travel more quickly and easily from your urethra to your bladder.
Acute cystitis, in particular, often affects women and triggers bladder inflammation. On its own, a bladder-related infection is painful and bothersome. But if left untreated, it could spread to your kidneys and pose serious consequences.
Note that not all UTIs exhibit signs and symptoms in patients, so its possible to be completely unaware that you have one. When they do present, however, symptoms commonly include:
- Urinating often in small quantities
- A burning sensation when you pee
- A reddish, bright pink, or brownish color
- Strong-smelling or cloudy urine
- Pelvic pain , especially in the center of your pelvis and near your pubic bone
- Feeling tired or shaky
- Pain or pressure in your lower abdomen
- Fever or chills
The three different types of UTIs are as follows:
Its an inflammation of your urethra. Symptoms include a discharge from your urethra and burning urination.
Bladder inflammation thats marked by painful, burning urination and cloudy urine, as well as a frequent need to pee.
- ephalexin ceftriaxone
How To Feel Better
If your healthcare professional prescribes you antibiotics:
- Take antibiotics exactly as your healthcare professional tells you.
- Do not share your antibiotics with others.
- Do not save antibiotics for later. Talk to your healthcare professional about safely discarding leftover antibiotics.
Drink plenty of water or other fluids. Your healthcare professional might also recommend medicine to help lessen the pain or discomfort. Talk with your healthcare professional if you have any questions about your antibiotics.
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Lifestyle Changes To Treat Antibiotic Resistant Uti
Sometimes, lifestyle changes also help subside antibiotic-resistant UTIs symptoms. For instance, you should always prioritize good hygiene to prevent recurrent infection. You should never hold urine for long and clean it from front to back after intercourse and urinating.
Also, drinking plenty of fluids regularly is of utmost significance. This is because water flushes out bacteria which, in turn, rules out the chances of infection. In addition, getting adequate vitamins and minerals through fruits and vegetables boosts our immune system. For example, citrus fruits such as oranges, likes, and grapefruits effectively treat UTIs.
Moreover, probiotics also help in reducing the risk of UTIs. With the antibiotic treatment, many beneficial bacteria are lost thus, probiotics help restore them. Last but not least, drinking cranberry juice can also help ward off UTI with antibiotic resistance.
My Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Treatment Regimen
I didnt realize at the time that this was the beginning of my recovery. My regimen took me to a place where I no longer had any symptoms. I was able to stop taking supplements on a daily basis. It wasnt about managing my symptoms anymore, they were just gone.
I was basically back at square one and I wanted a fresh start. I wanted more information everything I could get my hands on. I started with a range of blood tests to check my general health.
I discovered I was quite low in a few essential vitamins and minerals. In speaking with clinicians I have learned this is very common in people who have been fighting long term chronic infection.
First, I began to take a range of supplements targeting my deficiencies. Then I created a regimen of strong herbal antifungals and antibacterials based on the advice of my new doctor.
These were teamed up with oral and vaginal probiotics that contained probiotic strains showing promise for urinary tract and vaginal health.
I had tried all of these separately after reading studies about each of them. But I had never tried them together, or with a plan and a timeframe in mind.
I started my new regimen.
Urinary Tract Infection Treatment
If you are a healthy adult man or a woman who is not pregnant, a few days of antibiotic pills will usually cure your urinary tract infection. If you are pregnant, your doctor will prescribe a medicine that is safe for you and the baby. Usually, symptoms of the infection go away 1 to 2 days after you start taking the medicine. Its important that you follow your doctors instructions for taking the medicine, even if you start to feel better. Skipping pills could make the treatment less effective.
Your doctor may also suggest a medicine to numb your urinary tract and make you feel better while the antibiotic starts to work. The medicine makes your urine turn bright orange, so dont be alarmed by the color when you urinate.
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Chronic Urinary Tract Conditions: Different Names For The Same Family Of Problems
|Hypersensitive Bladder Syndrome
|An umbrella term used in East Asia to cover conditions resulting in symptoms including, bladder pain, discomfort, pressure or other unpleasant sensation, and is associated with disorders such as a frequent need to urinate day and nightand/or an urgent need to urinate. It encompasses Bladder Pain Syndrome. International Painful Bladder Foundation|
If you do a little research, you will quickly find there are also sub-categories within these conditions, with varying symptoms and levels of injury to the urinary tract.
It is not our intention here to imply these chronic urinary tract conditions are the same, or that they affect people in the same ways. But they do have an important thing in common in the majority of cases, no cause has been identified, and the condition is therefore not curable. Treatment focuses on reducing symptoms rather than resolving the underlying issue.
|After about 3.5 years of chronic urinary tract infections, two doctors said they couldnt help me further. A third said maybe you just have irritable bladder or IC. That maybe didnt feel like a diagnosis. Why did my test results tell them nothing?|
So why do we mention these chronic urinary tract conditions?
Let us explain
Why Symptoms Don’t Go Away With Treatment
If you get a UTI, your doctor can give you medication to make the bacteria causing the infection go away. These medications are called antibiotics.
You will usually need to take the medicine every day for about 2 weeks. You should also drink plenty of fluid to help clear the infection from your body.
Even if you take the medication the way your doctor tells you to and drink a lot, your infection might not go away. There are a few reasons why this can happen.
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Why Tracking Your Symptoms Can Help
Now, I dont know about you, but I love a good spreadsheet. And its amazing how much more fulfilling a health regimen can be when you plot it out, then mark off your progress daily. Feels so goooood.
I downloaded a counter on my phone to track how many days since my last UTI at the very least I would see how long I could last between episodes.
Every morning I woke up and looked at my counter. After 30 days I started to feel my first glimmer of hope. I was still getting twinges and minor symptoms, but nothing I couldnt handle.
My first milestone came around that time, when I went hiking with my partner. Without a map, without a compass, and without enough water. We got lost. We were out there for 10 hours and I was dehydrated.
But I didnt get a UTI. And I didnt even think about it until I was home safe again. That alone blew my mind. This thing that had been my focus for four years had somehow become an afterthought.
The counter kept going up. 45 days, 60 days, 90 days since a UTI. I suddenly felt like declaring myself officially healed of recurrent UTIs at the six month point might not be so far-fetched.
Sometime, around three months in, I had a relapse of symptoms and upped some elements of my regimen in response. That UTI never happened and my count remained intact.
Six months came and went and I set my sights on a year UTI free.
Amazingly, my UTI regimen also cleared up my yeast infections. Four years later, Ive not had even the slightest hint of one returning.
What Are Other Possible Causes Of Painful Urination
A painful burning feeling when you urinate is often a sign of a urinary tract infection . However, painful urination can occur even if you dont have an infection. Certain drugs, like some used in cancer chemotherapy, may inflame the bladder. Something pressing against the bladder or a kidney stone stuck near the entrance to the bladder can also cause painful urination.
Painful urination can also be caused by vaginal infection or irritation. You might be sensitive to chemicals in products such as douches, vaginal lubricants, soaps, scented toilet paper, or contraceptive foams or sponges. If it hurts to urinate after youve used these products, youre probably sensitive to them.
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Classification Of Urinary Tract Infections
UTIs are classified into 6 categories. The first category is an uncomplicated infection this is when the urinary tract is normal, both structurally and physiologically, and there is no associated disorder that impairs the host defense mechanisms. The second category is an complicated infection this is when infection occurs within an abnormal urinary tract, such as when there is ureteric obstruction, renal calculi, or vesicoureteric reflux. The third category, an isolated infection, is when it is the first episode of UTI, or the episodes are 6 months apart. Isolated infections affect 2540% of young females. The fourth category, an unresolved infection, is when therapy fails because of bacterial resistance or due to infection by two different bacteria with equally limited susceptibilities. The fifth category, reinfection, occurs where there has been no growth after a treated infection, but then the same organism regrows two weeks after therapy, or when a different microorganism grows during any period of time.9,10 This accounts for 95% of RUTIs in women. Bacterial persistence happens when therapy is impaired by the accumulation of bacteria in a location that cannot be reached by antibiotics, such as infected stones, urethral diverticula and infected paraurethral glands. The sixth category, relapse, is when the same microorganism causes a UTI within two weeks of therapy however, it is usually difficult to distinguish a reinfection from a relapse.11
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Utis
Symptoms of a UTI can include:
- pain when peeing
- changes in how often a child needs to pee
- changes in the look or smell of pee
- lower belly pain
- lower back pain or discomfort
UTIs also can cause kids to wet their pants or the bed, even if they haven’t had these problems before. Infants and very young children may only show nonspecific signs, such as fever, vomiting, or decreased appetite or activity.
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Bladder Cancer Risk Factors
Factors associated with an increased chance of developing bladder cancer include:
- Sex: Men are 4 times more likely than women to be diagnosed with bladder cancer.
- Age: Bladder cancer mostly affects people > 55 years of age. In the United States, the average age of individuals diagnosed with bladder cancer is 73 years.
- Race: White Americans are approximately 2 times more likely to to have bladder cancer detected compared with African Americans and people of Hispanic ethnicity, while Asian Americans and Native Americans have the lowest rates.
- Smoking: Cigarette smoking is the most important risk factor for bladder cancer, causing around half of all cases. Smokers are at least 3 times as likely to get bladder cancer compared with non-smokers.
- Exposure to certain chemicals in the workplace: Aromatic amines used in the dye industry and organic chemicals used in the production of rubber, leather, paint and textiles may contribute to a higher bladder cancer rates in workers. Painters, printers, hairdressers, and truck drivers are also at increased risk due to workplace exposures.
- Arsenic in drinking water: The likelihood of potentially harmful levels of arsenic in water depends on the water source being used.
- Some medicines: The use of some medicines and certain chemotherapy drugs may be associated with increased bladder cancer risk.
- Previous bladder cancer: People who have had bladder cancer are prone to recurrence.
How Can Parents Help
At home, these things can help prevent recurrent UTIs in kids:
Drinking Fluids Encourage kids to drink 810 glasses of water and other fluids each day. Cranberry juice and cranberry extract are often suggested because they may prevent E. coli from attaching to the walls of the bladder. Always ask your doctor, though, if your child should drink cranberry juice or cranberry extract, because they can affect some medicines.
Good Bathroom Habits Peeing often and preventing constipation can help to prevent recurrent infections.
No Bubble Baths Kids should avoid bubble baths and perfumed soaps because they can irritate the urethra.
Frequent Diaper Changes Kids in diapers should be changed often. If poop stays in the genital area for a long time, it can lead to bacteria moving up the urethra and into the bladder.
Proper Wiping Girls should wipe from front to back after using the toilet to reduce exposure of the urethra to UTI-causing bacteria in poop.
Cotton Underwear Breathable cotton underwear is less likely to encourage bacterial growth near the urethra than nylon or other fabrics.
Regular Bathroom Visits Some kids may not like to use the school bathroom or may become so engrossed in a project that they delay peeing. Kids with UTIs should pee at least every 3 to 4 hours to help flush bacteria from the urinary tract.
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How Are Urinary Abnormalities Diagnosed
It’s important for a doctor to rule out any underlying problems in the urinary system when a child gets UTIs repeatedly. Kids with recurrent infections should see a pediatric urologist to see what is causing the infections.
Some problems can be found before birth. Hydronephrosis that develops before birth can be seen in an ultrasound as early as 16 weeks. In rare cases, doctors may consider neonatal surgery if hydronephrosis affects both kidneys and is a risk to the fetus. Most of the time, though, doctors wait until after birth to treat the condition, because almost half of all cases seen prenatally disappear by the time a baby is born.
Doctors will closely watch the blood pressure of a newborn thought to have hydronephrosis or another urinary system abnormality, because some kidney problems can cause high blood pressure. Another ultrasound may be done to get a closer look at the bladder and kidneys. If the condition appears to be affecting both kidneys, doctors usually will order blood tests to check kidney function.
Option #: Persistent Uti Symptoms After Treatment
Here is another option: they sent your urine sample to a lab and later told you that according to the test you have a UTI. However, antibiotics resolved some symptoms , but the urge to urinate or pain in the lower abdomen remained.
As you could imagine, there could be a scenario when not only you have a full-blown UTI, but also an inflamed bladder lining is causing additional symptoms, as discussed above.
In this case, you, most likely, will see a reduction in pain, and your urine will become clear. However, pain in the bladder area and slight irritation after urination might still linger.
Moreover, when patients mention they feel burning in the urethra rather than the bladder, its quite normal. In fact, the urethra has more nerve endings that could be easily irritated due to underlying inflammation.
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