Urinary Tract Infections (or UTIs) can occur from infected piercings or contamination from sounding. Normal urine contains fluids, salts, and waste products, but is devoid of viruses, bacteria and fungi. However, if bacteria and other microorganisms (most commonly E. coli) are carried into the urethra, cystitis (a bladder infection) can be the result.
The urinary system is designed to be quite resistant to infection. Both the bladder and the urethra are designed to be "one way," keeping urine from backing up toward the kidneys, and the flow of urine washes most bacteria out of the body. Additionally, in men the prostate produces anti-bacterial secretions.
That said, anything that slows the flow of urine—such as transurethral piercings (generally PAs), especially larger gauge ones in people with tight urethras—sets a foundation for infection. In addition, when genital piercings become infected, they can transfer this infection up into the urinary tract. In addition, anything placed into the urethra or bladder can draw infections inside the urinary tract—it is essential to make sure that any sounds or other urethral toys are as sterile as possible.
Finally, it is possible that shorter urethras (from subincision) might also make a person slightly more susceptible to bladder infections, as a shortened urethra may result in some of the defense mechanism being bypassed.
A UTI may be followed with any combination of the following (though some may be asymptomatic):
- Frequent urination along with the feeling of having to urinate even though little or no urine actually comes out.
- Nocturia: Need to urinate during the night.
- Urethritis: Discomfort or pain at the urethral meatus (opening) or a burning sensation throughout the urethra with urination (dysuria).
- Cystitis: Pain in the midline suprapubic region.
- Pyuria/Hematuria: Pus or blood in urine.
- Pyrexia: Mild fever
- Discharge from the urethra.
- Cloudy and foul-smelling urine
- Increased confusion and associated falls are common presentations to Emergency Departments for elderly patients with UTI.
If the infection travels to the kidneys, a fever may set in, coupled with Back, side (flank) or groin pain, night sweats, extreme fatigue, nausea, and vomiting.
If you think you have a UTI, go to your doctor, who will, after a urine test, prescribe antibiotics which should clear it up quite quickly! Cranberry juice, while it helps, is not going to magically cure a UTI on its own.