In most cases, your doctor or NP will not routinely screen for bacteria in your urine, unless you are having symptoms. However, one case your care provider may screen for bacteria, despite symptoms (which is called asymptomatic bacteriuria) is when you are pregnant.
Did you know that patients who are pregnant are at increased risk of infections since their immune system takes a whack when they’re pregnant? Shocking! But the superhero ability to grow a human being inside of you means some other stuff has to give.
Within the urinary tract, there are multiple organs and structures in place. When urinary infections start, they usually start low down within the urinary tract. Unfortunately, the bacteria can spread upwards and hit higher structures, eventually affecting the kidneys. The medical term for kidney infections is pyelonephritis. For even someone NOT growing a human being, kidney infections are considered very very serious. When someone is pregnant and has a kidney infection, things can go south quickly. Kidney infections can actually cause pre-term birth or miscarriage, not to mention sepsis of the pregnant patient (which is a particularly terrifying medical emergency).
What can you do to avoid this?
Provide that darn urine sample when your care provider asks for one and also take antibiotics as prescribed, even if you don't have symptoms. In this same sentiment, if you are having symptoms associated with urinary tract infections: pee with urination, or frequency/urgency, talk to your care provider. Also, if you generally don’t feel well, have a fever, or feel dizzy, it's worth touching base with someone ASAP. The goal is to not pretend these scary things don’t exist but to provide you with the information and tools so you can be empowered to manage things as they come your way.
Enjoyed this? Come join Diem, download here.