Recurrent urine tract infections (UTIs) can be very bothersome, and not just because the symptoms of rushing to the toilet and the feeling of passing "razor blades" affects your health and quality of life. Many trips to the doctors for prescriptions of antibiotics can be frustrating. If you suffer from recurrent UTIs it is worth having some investigations to ensure there is no underlying problems. That does not mean that there is always a problem but your GP should refer you to a urologist for investigation.
The tests that may be suggested are:
- an MSU (mid-stream urine): a urine sample to check the bug growing in the urine
- a renal ultrasound: a jelly scan of the kidneys and bladder to ensure that there is no abnormality such as an obstructed kidney, a cancer or a kidney stone.
- a flexible cystoscopy: this is to check the lining of the bladder.
Once you have seen our urologist, and if all the tests are clear, you will be reassured that there is no underlying problem with your kidneys or bladder. There are various strategies that will be discussed to try and prevent infections, such as:
- regular fluid intake
- going to the toilet regularly ("timed voiding")
- avoiding food and drinks that can irritate/upset the bladder
- making sure the bladder is empty before leaving the toilet ("double voiding")
For cases of very frequent urine infections, further investigation with surgery (such as cystoscopy which is a way of examining the bladder with a long telescope) or a course of preventative antibiotics, may be suggested. Other alternative options, such as vaccination therapies for recurrent UTIs are also available. Your urologist will discuss if these options are right for you.