The recent experience of Prince Phillip highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy bladder and continence regime. Poor bladder or urinary habits are unlikely to cause incontinence, however the risk of causing a Urinary Tract Infections is far higher.
Urinary Tract Infections are one of the most common reasons for seeing a GP with approximately one in two women and one in twenty men experiencing a Urinary Tract Infections in their lifetime.
A faint prickly feeling during urination is usually the first sign of a urinary infection. Bacteria can be present in a urine sample without causing any symptoms. This is more common in women who have diabetes, repeated Urinary Tract Infections, or in the elderly. This type of infections may not always need treatment except in special situations, such as in pregnant women.
Urinary Tract Infections with symptoms are most common among sexually active women. Common symptoms can include:
- burning sensation when passing urine
- wanting to urinate more often, if only to pass a few drops
- cloudy, bloody or very smelly urine
- pain in the lower part of your body
Signs of Urinary Tract Infections in children can also include:
- low fever
- new day or night wetting in a child who has been dry
- feeding problems in babies
If the infection moves to the kidneys, this may also cause a high fever, back pain and vomiting. It is important to see a doctor if a kidney infection or kidney stones are suspected because lasting damage or even kidney failure can occur, if these conditions are left untreated.
Because Urinary Tract Infections can be the result of a more serious medical condition, it is important to seek prompt medical advice for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Besides the use of prescription drugs, sometimes mild cystitis can be treated by:
- drinking plenty of fluids, particularly water, as it can help to flush out bacteria.
- avoid acidic food or drinks (caffeine, acidic foods, spices, citrus fruits, tomatoes, alcohol and chocolate) as these foods may increase your discomfort and can aggravate the burning sensation when passing urine.
- use a heating pad on your abdomen to minimize bladder pressure or discomfort.
Medical advice is needed if self-help treatments aren’t working. The doctor usually tests the urine to check for blood, white blood cells and cell acidity. Urinary Tract Infections respond well to antibiotics.