Urinary Tract Infections

Note: I am not a medical doctor. The things you will read here come from my own personal experience and conversations/consultations with medical doctors.

As with any kind of health problem, if you suspect that you are suffering from any, please see your doctor.

Here goes the official start of this blog post.

The past few weeks have been quite stressful for me. People were getting sick in the house, left and right. (Is that a valid reason enough not to blog?) It started with my son and my daughter's yaya (sitter). Then it was my daughter. Then it was our other household help. You get the picture.

Why am I blogging about this? It's so that I will remember. I want to remember details so that if similar things happen again, I more or less have an idea of what to expect. Then again, every case might be different.

Two of the people in our house were suspected of having urinary tract infections -- my daughter's yaya and my daughter. What were the symptoms that led the doctors to check for such? They both had fever (in the 38-39 range), they both complained of painful tummies, and they both threw up. My daughter's yaya, however, threw up more often than my daughter while my daughter only threw up once. (By the way, they were not sick at the same time.)

One has a urinary tract infection, more commonly known as UTI, when bacteria clings to the opening of the urethra. The first thing that doctors will order is for one to get a urinalysis. Based on the results (whether there is blood, etc.), they will more or less be able to gauge if their suspicion is correct. Together with the urinalysis, the doctor will also probably order a blood test (complete blood count or CBC). They will look at the results of the blood test and see if the results jive with their suspicion of UTI. In the case of my daughter's yaya, she was cured for UTI and was given antibiotics for seven days.

In the case of my daughter, no such thing was done. The doctor who checked her said that her blood test results did not match her urinalysis results. She said that the white blood cells (WBC) were quite low and could indicate a viral infection. The urinalysis results, on the other hand, showed a possible UTI. Given this, the doctor asked for a repeat urinalysis and for a urine culture. She said that a urine culture will really determine whether there is any organism growing and given that, she will know what medicine to give.

Urinalysis results just take a few hours to get. A urine culture, however will take longer, a minimum of 48 hours to a maximum of five days. You will need more urine sample for a urinalysis than for a urine culture. Also, you will need to collect your urine mid-stream for any of these tests and that means peeing a little before you actually collect. It can be a challenge with a young child.

After several days of waiting, the repeat urinalysis showed much improved/normal results and the urine culture did not show any growth. Thus, UTI was completely ruled out. It was then good that the doctor who saw my child did not quickly prescribe her antibiotics just to give me the satisfaction that something was already being done to make my child get better.

The two urinalysis tests were done a day apart. I asked another doctor how the results could vary so greatly in that short a time span. I was told that sometimes, high fever can also skew urinalysis results. With increased hydration of the patient, the results can improve the next time. I then remembered that when we saw the doctor for the first time, I was told that my daughter already looked slightly dehydrated. (That was the day we took the first urinalysis test.) I was told to give her lots of water and so even if she did not ask for water, I offered her water every hour. I am not sure but that might have done the trick for the next urinalysis test.

Anyway, all's well that ends well. My daughter's illness turned out to be a viral thing (more on this next time -- also for documentation purposes) so she got well without us giving her anything. All she needed was lots of fluid and rest.

But back to the issue of UTI. What are the best ways to minimize its occurrence? Drink lots of water. Don't put off going to the bathroom. Pee when you need to pee. If the public bathroom or the public toilet is super dirty (as some are), just grin and bear it. Better to pee than have a UTI. As for drinking cranberry juice, does that really work?

[By Angelica Viloria | Sunday, May 31, 2009]

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