Urinary tract infections have different names, depending on what part of the urinary tract is infected.
- Bladder -- an infection in the bladder is also called cystitis or a bladder infection
- Kidneys -- an infection of one or both kidneys is called pyelonephritis or a kidney infection
- Ureters -- the tubes that take urine from each kidney to the bladder are only rarely the site of infection
- Urethra -- an infection of the tube that empties urine from the bladder to the outside is called urethritis
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are very common in women, babies and the elderly. The most common cause is a bacteria called Escherichia coli (E. coli), which usually lives in the digestive system and bowel. Infection can target the urethra, bladder or kidneys.
The symptoms of a bladder infection include:
- Cloudy or bloody urine, which may have a foul or strong odor
- Low fever (not everyone will have a fever)
- Pain or burning with urination
- Pressure or cramping in the lower abdomen (usually middle) or back
- Strong need to urinate often, even right after the bladder has been emptied
If the infection spreads to kidneys, symptoms may include:
- Chills and shaking or night sweats
- Fatigue and a general ill feeling
- Fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- Flank (side), back, or groin pain
- Flushed, warm, or reddened skin
- Mental changes or confusion (in the elderly, these symptoms often are the only signs of a UTI)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe abdominal pain (sometimes)
Although not always backed up by clinical research, some women have found the following suggestions useful in reducing their risk of developing urinary tract infections:
- Drink plenty of water and other fluids to flush the urinary system.
- Treat vaginal infections such as thrush or Trichomonas quickly.
- Avoid using spermicide-containing products, particularly with a diaphragm contraceptive device.
- Practice good hygiene.
- Go to the toilet as soon as you feel the urge to urinate, rather than holding on.
- Wipe yourself from front to back (urethra to anus) after going to the toilet.
- Empty your bladder after sex.
Nursing Diagnosis for Urinary Tract Infections
1. Acute Pain
related to: inflammation and infection of the urethra, bladder and other urinary tract structures.
2. Impaired Urinary Elimination
related to: frequent urination, urgency, and hesitancy.
3. Disturbed Sleep Pattern
related to: pain and nocturia.
related to: the inflammatory reaction.
5. Imbalanced Nutrition, Less Than Body Requirements
related to: anorexia.
6. Risk for Fluid Volume Deficit
related to: excessive evaporation and vomiting.
related to: crisis situations, coping mechanisms are ineffective.
8. Knowledge Deficit: about condition, prognosis, and treatment needs
related to: the lack of resources.