If a person is experiencing painful or frequent urination, he or she should seek medical care. A healthy urinary tract starts with prevention. The article below outlines why UTI symptoms should never be ignored.
When seeing a doctor, he or she will start the exam by looking for symptoms: fever, pyelonephritis, prostatitis, etc. They will check out the patient’s lower back, perform a rectal exam (men), and a gynecological exam (women). In the case of prostatitis, it is necessary to look for a complete blockage of the bladder.
The doctor will get a urine sample and the results are available within a minute or so. This test reveals the presence of neutrophils (white blood cells) and nitrites. A urine culture confirms the diagnosis by identifying the bacterium whose sensitivity to several antibiotics is tested (antibiogram). Its result depends on the conditions of the collection.
When there is fear of sepsis (passage of the bacteria into the blood), a blood sample is also taken. In the case of acute pyelonephritis, a radiological assessment (abdominal radiography, renal ultrasound) may be needed to come up with a favorable treatment. In a case of repeated urinary infections, a more thorough radiological assessment is necessary in order to eliminate anatomical malformations.
The evolution of urinary infections
A urinary tract infection carries with it many risks. Low urinary tract infections (cystitis, urethritis) may progress to high urinary tract infections, i.e. kidney failure (pyelonephritis), etc. Any urinary infection that involves a fever (pyelonephritis, prostatitis) can be complicated by septicemia (passage of germs into the bloodstream), with a risk of septic shock (failure of vital organs) that requires treatment in intensive care. The infection can cause a kidney abscess or even kidney failure.
These infections are all the more serious if the patient’s health is fragile (diabetes, immunodeficiency, advanced age, and so on.). The ultimate risk is end-stage renal disease, the treatment of which is hemodialysis or even kidney transplantation.
Prostatitis has special complications concerning acute urinary retention (complete blockage of the bladder) and the spread of infection in the testicles (orchitis). In a case of pregnancy, any urinary infection is dangerous for the mother but also for the fetus due to the risk of premature delivery.