Adolescent UTI, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and prevention

Adolescent UTI, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and prevention
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio: https://www.pexels.com/photo

WorldExecutivesDigest | Adolescent UTI, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and prevention | Urinary tract infection is common in children and adolescents. However, in this article, we will look at UTIs in adolescents.  As the name suggests, it usually occurs in the urinary system. 

The urinary system consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The kidney filters blood to produce urines. The ureters carry urine from the kidney to the bladder. The bladder stores urine and the urethra carries urine from the bladder to the external body. 

What are urinary tract infections?

A urinary tract infection is an infection of the urinary tract system, and it occurs when bacteria in the urethra get into the bladder. There are two types of UTI: bladder infections and kidney infections, and bladder infections are the most common.

According to ACOG, UTI is not a sexually transmitted infection; however, when you have sex, your chances of having a UTI increase-mostly in women. This is because the bacteria that cause UTIs are primarily found in the body, and during sex, you can carry these bacteria to the urinary tract and cause infection.

UTI is more prevalent in female adolescence because, during sex, the vagina can push the bacteria around it into the urethra, pushing it to the bladder. The bladder stores urine that gives bacteria a conducive environment for their growth. The shortness of the urethra in women is also attributed to the prevalence.

Causes of UTI in adolescence

The bacteria causing urinary tract infections live in the gastrointestinal tract closer to the urethra in adolescent men and women. These bacteria can get into the urethra, travel up to the bladder, and cause infections.

Some conditions increase the chances of having bladder infections in men and women, and this is because these conditions block or change the urine flow in the kidney. These conditions can be kidney stones or ureteral reflux. 

Other the causes, there are some factors that can increase your chances of getting infections. These factors include;

  • Frequent sex
  • Diabetes
  • If you’ve had a bladder or kidney infection recently- the past 12 months
  • If you’re using spermicide for birth control
  • Having insertive anal sex for men
  • Not being circumcised for men.

Symptoms

The two types of UTIs have different symptoms. Let’s look at the individual symptoms of these infections.

Bladder infection

The symptoms of bladder infections include:

  • Feeling pain or burning sensation when urinating
  • Pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen
  • Frequent urinating urge
  • Blood in the urine

Kidney infection

Sometimes, kidney infections have similar symptoms to those of bladder infections listed above, with a slight variation. Apart from those symptoms, they can also cause:

  • Fever and chills
  • Pain on the side of your back under your ribs
  • Nausea and vomiting

If you notice the above symptoms of bladder and kidney infections, see your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Also, don’t assume that you have a bladder infection if you feel the burn when urinating. Burning urination can also result from vaginal infections in women and people with urethritis.

Diagnosis

Your doctor can always diagnose a urinary tract infection without necessarily doing a test based on your symptoms. A woman with bladder infection symptoms with no vaginal discharge is likely to have UTI.

In cases where your doctor cannot diagnose you by looking at the symptoms, they can do a urine culture to diagnose UTI. during urinalysis, a sample of urine is taken to the lab and tries to grow the bacteria. Urinalysis aims to check for white blood cells in the urine. Because white blood cells fight infection, their presence in the urine suggests infections. 

The test can pinpoint the bacteria causing the UTI and determine the appropriate antibiotics. The result takes about 48 hours.

Prevention

Prevention tips for men

  • Get circumcised. If you’re not, always keep the tip of your penis clean.
  • Take time to empty your bladder when urinating
  • Drink more and other liquids

Prevention for women

  • Urinate immediately after sex to prevent bacteria from moving to the urethra.
  • Avoid using spermicide or condoms coated with spermicide
  • Change sanitary pads often
  • Drink more and other liquids
  • Take time to empty your bladder when urinating

Conclusion

Women are at risk of getting UTIs more than their male counterparts because they have shorter urethras. For this reason, women should wipe themselves from front to back after toiletry. On the same note, menstruating adolescent women should often change their sanitary pads. 

Because sex increases the chances of getting an infection, you should abstain until the right time comes.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio: https://www.pexels.com/photo