- Women are at a higher risk UTI than men
- Lack of personal hygiene can increase UTI risk
- Timely diagnosis and treatment can help treat UTI during pregnancy
Urinary tract infection or UTI can affect any part of the urinary system but usually are found in bladder and the urethra. This infection can be quite painful and affect more women than men. A frequent, small amount of urine, burning sensation while urinating, strong-smelling urine, pelvic pain and strong urge to urine are some common signs of UTI. This infection can affect pregnant women too which needs medical assistance on time. If left uncontrolled the infection can spread to the upper urinary tract which is more difficult to treat. Dr. Hemangi Negi, senior consultant, obstetrician and gynaecology at Max hospital explains how to prevent UTI during pregnancy and ways to handle it.
UTI during pregnancy: Prevention, complication and much more
Dr. Negi explains, "Pregnant women are more susceptible to Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Around 8% of pregnant women get UTI during pregnancy. It is also one of the common causes of serious infection during pregnancy. Patients who are at a higher risk are those at a young age, diabetic, someone with kidney stone or vaginal itching. During pregnancy, the growing foetus puts pressure on the bladder which traps the bacteria resulting in UTI."
To avoid infections during pregnancy, here are a few tips one can follow during pregnancy-
1) Do not hold the urine for a long time, pass it whenever you feel so.
2) Lessen the use of public toilets
3) Drink adequate amount of water
4) Avoid the use of any soap or body wash in the genital area
5) Treat any vaginal itching or infection
6) Wipe from front to back after urination
Also read: Everything About UTI
When the patient has UTI she presents with increased frequency of urination, pain while passing urine, burning micturition, urinary incontinence and fever. In some cases, the patient does not show any symptoms. Therefore, all pregnant women should be screened for UTI by getting urine routine microscopic done.
If urine routine shows pus cells > 2 to 4/ HPF, it is important to get urine culture done and treatment to be given depending upon which organism has infected and with what drug it is sensitive.
It is important to seek medical help if you experience symptoms UTI on time. Pregnant women should follow all necessary measures suggested by the doctor. In such a situation, avoid self-medication and home remedies.
If the patient is not responding to the treatment or has complications of UTI like pyelonephritis, sepsis, hypotension, tachycardia and decreased urine output, it becomes necessary to admit the patient. Get an ultrasound of kidney and urinary bladder to rule out any stone in the urinary tract.
Sometimes patient may have no symptoms but still have bacteria in urine known as asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB). If it left untreated it may lead to cystitis, urethritis, pyelonephritis.
UTI in pregnancy may lead to low birth weight babies or early labour. Pregnant women should get their regular tests done and follow all the above mentioned precautions mentioned above to prevent the infection.
(Dr. Hemangi Negi, Senior Consultant - Obstetrician and Gynaecology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Vaishali)
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