Community Blog

Urinary Tract Infection-We are on the Front Line to Recovery

By Care Coordinator, John Heyworth

Urinary Tract Infections – We Are On the Front Line to Recovery
 
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of the urinary system, from the kidneys to the bladder and urethra.  Most infections are generally found in the lower urinary tract—the bladder and the urethra.  Mostly women are at greater risk than men.  A UTI can be painful and annoying, however, serious consequences may occur if a UTI spreads to the kidneys.  UTIs are typically treated with antibiotics.  Urinary tract infections typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder. Although the urinary system is designed to keep out these microscopic invaders, these defenses sometimes fail.  Females are not blessed because of their anatomy in this case --specifically because of the short distance from the urethra to the other local drainage areas.  After menopause, a decline in circulating estrogen causes changes in the urinary tract that make a woman more vulnerable to infection. 
 
People who can't urinate on their own and use a tube (catheter) to urinate have an increased risk of UTIs. This may include people who are hospitalized, people with neurological problems that make it difficult to control their ability to urinate and people who are paralyzed.
 
  • Drink plenty of liquids, especially water. Drinking water helps dilute your urine and ensures that you'll urinate more frequently — allowing bacteria to be flushed from your urinary tract before an infection can begin.
  • Drink cranberry juice. Although studies are not conclusive that cranberry juice prevents UTIs, it is likely not harmful.
  • Wipe from front to back. Doing so after urinating and after a bowel movement helps prevent bacteria in the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.
 
Cleanliness is important when conventional methods of self-care are not being done efficiently.  Changing a disposable undergarment soon after soiling or voiding is most important to avoid a UTI. 
 
Many UTIs are caused by improper catheter care.  This can be prevented by less invasive health care intervention or minimizing the duration of catheter use.  There have been problems in some health care facilities.  For more information, see “Health Care–Acquired Urinary Tract Infection: The Problem and Solutions” at https://psnet.ahrq.gov/perspectives/perspective/68
 
As companions, we can monitor our clients for changes in medical conditions as far as we can observe from a non-medical viewpoint and document what we find.  Home Helpers Home Care does well at the front lines, acting to call-in our health care team before a medical condition gets any worse, and can shorten recovery time significantly.