Introduction to Urinary Tract Infection for People with Spinal Cord Injury
Because the bladder no longer works the way it did before spinal cord injury, it is possible to have problems with bladder infections. Bladder infections are also called urinary tract infections (UTI). This lesson will talk about causes, symptoms, treatments and prevention of UTI.
What causes a UTI?
- Not doing intermittent catheters (ICs) on time
- Not doing ICs properly
- Not emptying the bladder properly (during toileting programs or ICs)
- Not drinking enough water
- Dirty supplies, hands
How do you know if you have a UTI?
- Fever greater than 101 degrees
- Blood in urine
- Leaking between ICs
- Burning pain when you urinate
- Feeling like you have to urinate all the time
- Autonomic Dysreflexia of unknown cause
What should be done if a UTI is present?
Call the doctor to get your urine tested
- If the doctor asks you to collect urine at home and bring it in for testing, make sure the urine is stored in a clean container in the refrigerator.
- Properly label the container with your name, date and "Urine Sample."
- The urine sample must be collected using "clean technique." The doctor may also ask you to come in to the office to do a special urine test that must be collected using "sterile technique."
- Drink 6-8 glasses of cranberry juice or water a day (1 glass equals 8 ounces)
- Stop drinking sodas or other carbonated drinks
- Avoid other drinks with caffeine in them
- Keep bladder program as regular as possible
- Take all the medicine ordered by the doctor to make sure the infection is gone, even if you start to feel better.
How can UTIs be Prevented?
- Do toileting program or IC on time & take enough time to completely empty the bladder
- Keep catheter, supplies and leg bag clean
- Wash hands before emptying the bladder
- Drink 6-8 glasses of water per day
- Eat a healthy diet