Understanding the Prevalence of Urinary Tract Infections in People with Spina Bifida

People with Spina Bifida are at a higher risk of developing urinary tract infections (UTIs) due to the way their condition affects their bladder and urinary system. In this article, we'll explore just how common UTIs are in this population and provide some tips for preventing and treating them.

What is Spina Bifida?

Spina Bifida is a birth defect that affects the spinal cord and the bones of the spine. It occurs when the neural tube, which forms the baby's brain and spinal cord, fails to close properly during the first month of pregnancy. This can result in varying degrees of paralysis, bladder and bowel problems, and other health issues. 

Why are UTIs more common in people with Spina Bifida?

UTIs are more common in people with Spina Bifida due to the way the condition affects the bladder and urinary tract. Many people with Spina Bifida have neurogenic bladder, which means the nerves that control the bladder are damaged. This can lead to problems with emptying the bladder completely, which can cause bacteria to grow and lead to UTIs. Additionally, some people with Spina Bifida may need to use catheters to empty their bladder, which can also increase the risk of UTIs. It's important for people with Spina Bifida to take steps to prevent UTIs, such as practicing good hygiene and staying hydrated, and to seek prompt treatment if they develop symptoms of a UTI.

Symptoms of UTIs in people with Spina Bifida.

The symptoms of UTIs in people with Spina Bifida are similar to those in the general population, but may be more difficult to recognize due to the individual's unique symptoms related to their Spina Bifida. Common symptoms include pain or burning during urination, frequent urination, cloudy or strong-smelling urine, and fever. In some cases, people with Spina Bifida may also experience increased spasticity or changes in bowel or bladder function. It's important for individuals with Spina Bifida to be aware of these symptoms and seek prompt treatment if they occur.

Prevention tips for UTIs in people with Spina Bifida.

There are several steps that people with Spina Bifida can take to prevent UTIs. These include drinking plenty of fluids, practicing good hygiene, and emptying the bladder regularly. It's also important to avoid constipation, as this can put pressure on the bladder and increase the risk of infection. Some individuals may benefit from using intermittent catheterization to empty the bladder, which can help reduce the risk of UTIs. If a UTI does occur, prompt treatment with antibiotics is essential to prevent complications.

Treatment options for UTIs in people with Spina Bifida.

If a person with Spina Bifida develops a UTI, prompt treatment with antibiotics is essential to prevent complications. The type of antibiotic prescribed will depend on the specific bacteria causing the infection. In some cases, individuals may need to take antibiotics for an extended period of time to fully clear the infection. It's important to follow the healthcare provider's instructions for taking the medication and to complete the full course of treatment. In severe cases, hospitalisation may be necessary for intravenous antibiotics and close monitoring.



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