Patients with urinary tract infection (UTI) symptoms should seek prompt treatment because the condition can quickly worsen and spread. The recent death of Brazilian model Mariana Bridi da Costa from septic shock traced back to a UTI is a sobering example of why patients should not ignore even the mildest of symptoms.
If left untreated, a simple UTI could spell trouble for the bladder and kidneys, as well as other organs. UTIs occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract and multiply in the urethra. The lining of the urethra becomes red and irritated, like a sore throat. If the infection in the urethra (urethritis) is left unchecked, bacteria can spread and move deeper into the urinary tract to the bladder (cystitis) and throughout the ureters into the kidneys (pyelonephritis). Kidney infections are extremely dangerous and can lead to life-threatening conditions such as bacteremia (bacteria in the bloodstream) if left untreated. Septicemia, which causes inflammation in the body that can result in decreased blood flow, decreased blood pressure, and possibly organ failure and shock, can also develop as a result of an untreated UTI.
Frequent and sometimes painful urination is a common symptom of a UTI. Urine may also be cloudy, or have a stronger odor than usual. In some cases, there may also be hematuria, or blood in the urine. Hematuria is a common UTI symptom, but may also be caused by a more serious problem in the urinary tract. It is important to get prompt medical attention if you have blood in your urine.
“The recent death of this young woman is a tragic reminder of the importance of maintaining good urologic health,” said Executive Director of the American Urological Association (AUA) Foundation Sandra Vassos, MPA. “It is important to know the symptoms of a UTI and when to seek the advice of a urologist.”
To avoid UTIs, you should not delay or refrain from urinating and should not rush when urinating. Retaining urine and not emptying your bladder completely can increase your risk of a UTI. Other methods of UTI prevention include proper hydration and judicious use of antibiotics prescribed by a physician.
To find a urologist near you, please visit www.UrologyHealth.org.
The AUA can provide information, statistics and expert commentary on urinary tract infections. Please contact Lacey Dean at 410-689-4054 to schedule an interview with one of the following experts:
· Tomas L. Griebling, MD, MPH, associate professor and vice chair of Urology, and faculty associate in The Landon Center on Aging at the University of Kansas
· Anthony Smith, MD, chief of urology at the University of New Mexico
About the American Urological Association: Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is the pre-eminent professional organization for urologists, with more than 16,000 members throughout the world. An educational nonprofit organization, the AUA pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care by carrying out a wide variety of programs for members and their patients, including UrologyHealth.org, an award-winning on-line patient education resource, and the American Urological Association Foundation, Inc.
Lacey Dean, AUA