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How do you know that you are getting a uti?

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    How do you know that you are getting a uti?

    I have only had 4 or 5 uti’s in the last decade, but every time I didn’t clue in until I was about to die and went to the ER. I am iust wondering if there are other symptoms to look out for . I should mention that my urine is always colonized with bacteria, usually e-coil, so it’s rarely clear and always smells bad, but my immune system usually manages to keep it in check, just in case that’s not normal for everyone.

    #2
    I think the answer to this is at least in part very individualized, so I’ll speak only for myself.

    First sign is usually more sediment than usual in the urine. That is usually accompanied by lower volumes than usual before leakage. Smell is hit or miss, it can be an indication, but just as likely it doesn’t mean anything if it smells a bit off. Still if all of these are present I’ll probably just double up on the maintenance nitrofurantoin I take from once a day to twice a day for a while, drink more water and see if it clears up.

    Fever and chills are a sign that it’s out of hand. Back when I used to get more infections I’d often try to ignore this until it got really bad and I’d get nauseous and lightheaded (I assume because my blood pressure was low). One time I even got properly delirious and was pretty darn confused. Couldn’t even drive myself to the ER that time I had to call an ambulance.

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      #3
      I imagine like said it depends on the person but for me I know instantly I feel like crap urine has a different smell and color with stuff in it and I will have to pee ever couple minutes only for almost nothing to come out but like I said for me I have had enough that the way I feel and seeing the weird stuff come out the cath that makes it cloudy and having to go non stop with no out put I just know . But if you feel you are getting one contact your doctor ASAP they can be very very dangerous and it’s not worth how they make you feel to wait see a doctor ASAP for your own good and do not stop taking antibiotics because you feel better make sure you Finnish what they give you !!

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        #4
        I have severe pain in my shoulder blades and back. If I have one without the other something else is going on other than a UTI. Cloudy urine has never been a sign for me. Neither has the smell.

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          #5
          Changes in sediment, smell or color-unless blood are not symptoms of a uTI. That can be colonization. Look for-feeling more fatigued, tired after a good sleep; low grade fever when you are always normal. Increased muscle spasms, pain in lower abdomen ir referred pain-higher up. When you think you might have symptoms, increase fluid intake etc.. and see if it passes. Some people have spread to blood (sepsis) quicker than others. Since it takes 3 days to get culture results back, when you think you have one see if provider will run UA and culture. If symptoms go away then don’t take the antibiotics but if they don’t or worsen, go pick up the antibiotics ordered and start right away. We’re you in the ICU? Several times-this us what SCI specialists do. Your PCP might be willing. We’re you resistant to antibiotics by mouth? CWO
          The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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            #6
            For me about the only indicator is urine leakage between cathing. I use lemon and oregano essential oils in a capsule for a few days then I am back to normal.

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              #7
              This is a very hard question, and I'm glad to see a thread revived about it.

              The symptoms/signs can be different if you have a foley or if you intermittent cath, and they can vary a bit from person to person.

              When my Dad was doing intermittent cath, his urine would suddenly become smelly/cloudy/gross (THAT was not his normal). Then he would start to have increased urge to cath/couldn't hold as much urine in his bladder (ex. needing to cath at a volume of 150-300cc in stead of 500cc), pain in his bladder/urethera, sometimes leaking between caths. He often felt poorly. Sometimes he had low grade fevers. We kept urine dip sticks at home and would check his urine then and if there was a lot of blood, white blood cells or +nitrites, we new we were heading in an infection direction. And if we put off treating the UTI too long, or kept waiting for the results of the urine culture (which often took 4 days.... that's a long time to wait when you have cystitis symptoms and a SCI), then he often spiked very high fevers and was totally incapacitated and very sick. So it was very risky to wait to treat too long. He would try drinking like crazy and taking UTI prevention supplements, which sometimes helped. But eventually, his doctors trusted him to keep some simple antibiotics at home to take before he crashed, while waiting for the final culture results.

              But now my Dad is using a foley instead of intermittent cath. He has wounds on his butt and has gotten tired of cathing with aging (he's 78) so he moved to a foley for now.

              Now he no longer has the more reliable symptoms of cystitis (bladder irritation/bladder infection) to let him know that a UTI has arrived. No more increased urge to cath, urethera/penis tip pain, leaking between cath because the foley hides all of those. Now that he has a foley in place 24 hours a day, his urine is colonized and smells like an outhouse all the time - so we can't use that as an early sign that a UTI might be coming.

              So what are his early signs of a UTI when you have a foley? It can be hard to tell. We have to wait for the low grade fevers, feeling crappy, and we watch for a change in his usual urine smell/sediment. Sometimes it suddenly gets much worse. But there are a lot of things that can cause low grade fevers and feeling crappy (fatigue, worse neuro pain etc...).... a cold? aspiration (my Dad aspirates)? early stage of a pnuemonia? wound infection? .... so we have to wait for more symptoms, get nervous. We will send a UCx just in case. But to wait for a high spike in fevers (infection has spread to the blood!), or lower back pain (the infection has now spread to the kidneys!) means you let the infection get much more serious and increase the likelihood of having to be admitted to the hospital for treatment.

              Of course, treating infections too early, or not treating a "real" infection means you increase the chance of bacterial resistant infections. My Dad has those too. It really stinks, so we have to hold out treating as long as we can to try to preserve his options.

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                #8
                Maybe I'm in a small population, but with my level and severity of injury (T12 ASIA B at discharge, 15 years ago, ASIA C today) I have a bit of sensory and motor sparring below the neurological level of my injury. Mostly sensory, and mostly on the left side (same with motor.)

                I "feel" on oncoming UTI before any other symptoms present themselves. I get a funny little itch, on the left side of my crotch. It's weird a but pretty good indicator. That's usually my queue to do a course of Gentamicin instillation, which 9 times outta 10 makes it go away.

                If that doesn't work, the next sign is a hard, consistent and repeated, bladder spasm right at the end of cathing. It lasts 10-30 minutes, hurts, and causes me to involuntarily void whatever my kidneys deposit into my bladder during that time, often with signs of blood. Then comes cloudy stinky urine.

                I never really get a fever, which is scary. I take that to mean my brain is generally unaware of what is exactly happening. A fever is a defense mechanism, and I never seem to trip that. Not before I've caught UTIs for other reasons, anyway. Don't know if that is normal or not.

                "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

                "If you only know your side of an issue, you know nothing." -John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

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                  #9
                  Same but bladder spasms will cause leakage around the tube ( same as SPTube). This either a uTI which causes irritation of the bladder and spasms. Or bladder is more over active and because of tube . Antibiotics for UTI . Trospium ir Mirgabetron for neurogenic detrusor over activity ( spasms). CWO
                  The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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