Always speak to your doctor or healthcare team as your first step in dealing with a UTI. These are tips only and not a substitute for medical advice.
As an intermittent catheter user, at some point you may experience a urinary tract infection (UTI). While unpleasant, UTIs are common and typically go away within a few days of treatment. As soon as you start to experience symptoms, call your doctor to determine the proper course of action to best treat your UTI.
Before treatment be sure to read about:
Most commonly, your healthcare professional will prescribe an antibiotic. Once diagnosed, the antibiotic given to you will depend of your health condition and the type of bacteria found in your urine. Make sure your doctor is aware of any other medications you may be on so they can select the best treatment option for you. If prescribed antibiotics, make sure you complete the full course of medication, even if you are starting to feel better. This will help ensure the infection is completely gone from your urethra.
If your symptoms do not improve, or return once your antibiotic treatment has ended, speak with your doctor immediately. Depending on symptoms, your doctor may recommend a low-dose, longer treatment plan, or antibiotics for 1 or 2 days every time symptoms appear. If your infections are related to intercourse, your doctor may recommend a single-dose antibiotic after sexual activity.
You can also speak with your doctor about home remedies that could lessen the discomfort, such as:
- Drinking plenty of water. This will continue to help flush out the bacteria and dilute your urine. Avoid caffeinated beverages, like coffee and soda. These drinks make the body produce more urine at an accelerated rate because of the diuretic effects of caffeine. These drinks can also irritate your bladder.
- Consume cranberries. Consuming fresh or frozen cranberries, or pure (unsweetened) cranberry juice may be beneficial to help reduce the growth of bacteria in your urethra. Speak with your healthcare professional first. If you are on blood-thinning medications consuming cranberry juice may have a negative interaction with your medication.
- Use a heating pad. Heat can help soothe any pain you may have with a UTI. Apply low heat and limit to 15 minutes at a time. Do not apply heating pad directly to the skin.
Be diligent. It’s better to err on the side of caution. Treat an infection promptly and properly to avoid any complications. An untreated UTI can get worse, and more serious symptoms can develop.
An untreated UTI could spread from your bladder and create an infection in your kidneys. This type of infection is called pyelonephritis. Kidney infections need immediate medical attention. Symptoms include:
- A high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
- Pain in your sides or back
- Shivering and chills
- Being sick
- Agitation or restlessness
Don’t panic, stay calm but be proactive.
Remember, UTIs are common. With prompt and proper attention, UTIs can easily be treated. Don’t ignore symptoms and once your UTI has been identified, follow your healthcare professionals prescribe treatment plan.
If you think you have a urinary tract infection, or are suffering from any of these symptoms, please contact your healthcare professional immediately. This information is not meant to replace medical advice.