Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

How to decect them

Unfortunately for most people with Spina Bifida, urinary tract infections are very common. To prevent them, especially in hot weather, you need to look out for the following signs:

  • Be aware of your body and the signs and symptoms you present for an infection.
  • Is your urine smelly?
  • Is the urine cloudy and making your skin sore?
  • Is the urine a darker colour than usual?
  • Are you experiencing lower back or kidney pain?
  • If you have urostomy bag know what your usual output of urine is. If it is low or non-existent seek medical help.
  • Is there an excess of mucous in your urine?
  • Are you running a temperature and feeling unwell?
  • Do you have a headache and/or vomiting?
  • All these and many more are symptoms of a urinary tract infection.

Know Your Body

If you suspect a UTI seek medical advice, and the following points may be useful.

  • Tell the doctor if you use a catheter or have a bag, as often the results read differently to a normal urinary tract specimen. Make sure they take a urine sample before departing the surgery. If this is difficult take a sample to the surgery. In fact always have a spare sample bottle at home for these occasions. Once taken keep the sample refridgerated.
  • Be patient yet assertive with your doctor. They may not have many patients with Spina Bifida and therefore may suspect a virus for the cause of your distress.
  • Always collect a clean specimen – if you have a urostomy bag then change the bag first before collecting the urine specimen.

Lastly a couple of tips to help:

  • Whilst not a new idea - however still the best advice of all, is to drink plenty of water to help prevent Urinary Tract Infections. At least 2 litres per day - especially in hot weather!
  • Also, take Cranberry tablets or juice. These can be purchased cheaply at most health food stores and sometimes your local supermarket.