Are My Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Caused by Prolapse?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of any part of the urinary tract, including the urethra, bladder, ureters (the tubular connection between the kidneys and the bladder) or kidneys. A UTI occurs when bacteria travels into the urethra and up the urinary tract. UTI symptoms may include urinary urgency, frequency, and painful urination. In cases of more severe infections, hematuria (blood in the urine), back pain, fever, nausea and vomiting can occur. UTIs may also be asymptomatic (without symptoms), found on urine analysis and culture.

Recurrent UTIs may be related to a variety of sources including kidney stones, fecal incontinence, urinary incontinence, urinary retention, cystocele, rectocele, enterocele or uterine prolapse. In some women, UTIs may occur after intercourse.

A prolapse may cause incomplete bladder emptying allowing for stagnation of urine and bacterial growth. When the cause for recurrent UTIs is prolapse, vaginal prolapse repair or sacrocolpopexy may be suggested to restore the pelvic anatomy, allowing the bladder to empty completely.

In cases of fecal or urinary incontinence, treating the incontinence may help prevent UTIs. Treatments for fecal or urinary incontinence include behavioral changes, medication therapy, pelvic floor physical therapy, mid-urethral sling, InterStim or anal sphincteroplasty (in cases of fecal incontinence).

Bladder Pain Syndrome (BPS) may mimic a UTI but result in negative urine cultures. BPS is not treated with antibiotics.

A thorough history, pelvic exam and urine analysis and culture will help identify the cause of recurrent UTIs. At Austin Urogynecology, we specialize in treatment of urinary and fecal incontinence and prolapse repair.

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