We may need to do some tests to diagnose UTI.
The family doctor/urologist will take your medical history and do a physical examination. We may need to examine your genitalia regions as well.
If required, other tests will be performed.
The doctor will take a detailed medical history and ask questions about your symptoms. You may be asked the following questions:
The urologist will do a general physical examination on:
You will need to give some of your urine for tests to exclude any current urinary tract infection and traces of blood in the urine.
This is a simple test which electronically records the rate of urine flow. You will urinate into a container, called a uroflowmeter. This test helps your doctor to check whether there is any obstruction to the flow of urine.
Imaging of the bladder/kidneys
You may get an ultrasound of the bladder and kidneys, which uses high-frequency sounds to create an image of your bladder/kidneys. You may also need an x-ray/CT scan at the Diagnostic Imaging Centre to exclude any causes for persistent/recurrent infections (eg, stones in the urinary tract)
If you have blood in the urine or an abnormal ultrasound/x-ray/CT finding of the bladder, you may be asked to undergo a flexible cystoscopy in the clinic. This day procedure allows urologist to look into your bladder to assess if you have any other conditions.
Please refer to the flexible cystoscopy pamphlet for more information.
How to do a clean-catch specimen for females
It is often difficult to get an uncontaminated specimen for a female patient. A clean-catch specimen is very important for diagnosing UTI and blood in the urine. Please seek help from your doctor/nurse if you require advice to get a clean catch specimen.
For some patients, it may be necessary for us to obtain the urine specimen using a catheter (a thin tube which is inserted into the bladder via the urethra) to ensure accurate results.
Recurrent UTIs in males
Medications may be required if self-management or lifestyle changes are inadequate to control the infections. Common medications are antibiotics, probiotics, cranberry extracts, topical estrogen cream/pessary for postmenopausal females.
Your Urologist will advise you if any of the above strategy is suitable. You will be counselled on the benefits and risks of each strategy.
Probiotics, cranberry extracts
These are health supplements that may be useful in preventing UTIs in otherwise healthy individuals.
Topical estrogen cream
For postmenopausal females, we may recommend topical estrogen cream/pessary if you have dry or thin genitals. Topical estrogen therapy improves the tissue quality of the genitalia region and can prevent UTIs and relieve some symptoms such as pain on urination.
For patients with severe, recurrent infections with previous failed treatments, we may suggest intravesical therapy of hyaluronic acid. You will usually require a few sessions, performed weekly, to see the benefits of the treatment.
Living with recurrent UTIs
Although UTIs are usually not life-threatening for healthy individuals, they may have a negative impact on the patients' quality of life. For older, immunocompromised patients, a severe episode of UTI can be life-threatening. Quality of life involves both physical and psychological health. It is important not only to feel healthy but also to feel free from the psychological pressure of living with UTI symptoms.
Seek help if the symptoms are bothering you. You can gain control of the condition simply by recognising and seeking treatment.