Urinary Tract

Urinary Tract Infection

What is a Urinary Tract Infection?

A urinary tract infection, commonly known as a UTI, occurs when germs grow and multiply anywhere along your urinary tract. The germs normally live on your skin and are passed from person to person, but on occasions these germs get into your bladder through your urethra. Most of the time your bladder is able to get rid of them, but when the germs multiply, they irritate your urinary tract and can develop into a urinary tract infection.

Urinary tract infections are very common and are one of the most common reasons for visiting a General Practitioner. One in two females and one in twenty males will experience a UTI sometime in their life. In once off cases, urinary tract infections can be managed and treated by your GP. However, if you or your child suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections, treatment and advice from a medical specialist is essential. This will help you to understand and treat the causes of a UTI, rather than just treating the symptoms. Recurrent urinary tract infections have the potential to lead to permanent bladder and kidney damage if left untreated.

What are the Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection?

Symptoms of a urinary tract infection vary between people and amongst age groups. Common symptoms 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
  • low fever
  • irritability
  • new day or night wetting in a child who has previously been dry
  • feeding problems in babies
  • high fever, back pain and vomiting, if the infection has moved to the kidneys

How do I Prevent a Urinary Tract Infection?

It is essential to treat the underlying cause of recurrent urinary tract infections. Although there are many potential contributing factors, the following conditions are common causes in children.

  • Underactive Bladder: This occurs when the bladder is large and the bladder muscle is floppy. Symptoms include: infrequent toileting (less than four times a day) and occasional wetting without any warning as the bladder overfills. Urinary tract infections are common as the bladder may not always empty fully.
  • Dysfunctional Voiding: This occurs when your bladder and pelvic floor muscles are not coordinating well together and you develop habits such as not emptying your bladder completely. This can led to wetting and urinary tract infections.
  • Constipation: This occurs when you are not able to empty your bowel, or are having difficulty doing so. Bowel habits can have a significant impact on bladder function.
  • Toileting Habits: Certain toileting postures, wiping techniques and hygiene practices can increase the likelihood of developing a UTI.
  • Structural Problems: related to your bladder, kidneys, muscles, nerves and urethra are rare. A medical specialist should be consulted if your child is identified as having an anatomical or neurological cause for wetting.

Assessments and treatments at the Mars Clinic are provided by advanced-trained Physiotherapists. The type and duration of treatment for recurrent urinary tract infections will vary depending on the cause of the infections and the needs of the individual. Treatment may include:

  • Teaching correct bladder and bowel habits
  • Practical advice and strategies for management at home
  • Timed voiding and drinking programs
  • Urostym biofeedback™ computer games to teach pelvic floor muscle control and relaxation
  • Uroflow voiding biofeedback to encourage correct voiding habits
  • TENS neuromodulation to retrain nerve pathways
  • Referral to a medical specialist, or other allied health professional, as required