Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common and painful condition that can be difficult to diagnose and treat.
UTIs cause uncomfortable symptoms such as burning when urinating, frequent urges to go, cloudy urine, and abdominal pain. Left untreated, they can lead to serious health complications like kidney damage or sepsis.
With a medical professional’s correct diagnosis and care plan, you can get relief from your UTI quickly and effectively. Our team of experienced healthcare professionals is here to provide accurate UTI nursing care plans so nursing students can learn about them efficiently.
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What is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
A UTI is an infection of any part of the urinary system, including:
- Urethra (urethritis).
- Kidneys (pyelonephritis).
- Bladder (cystitis).
Urine (pee) is a product of filtration that your kidneys carry out. It is formed when the kidneys remove waste products and excess water from the blood. Typically, urine travels through the urinary tract without any contamination. However, there may be instances where bacteria get into this system which can lead to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).
What is the Urinary Tract?
The urinary tract makes and stores pee. It includes you:
- Kidneys – which filter your blood and produce urine.
- Ureters – the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.
- Bladder – a muscular sack that stores urine until you go to the toilet.
- Urethra – a tube that carries pee out of your body when you go to the bathroom.
UTIs occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract and multiply. This can happen through sexual contact, improper hygiene, or in some cases, from foreign bodies entering the bladder. In most cases, E. coli is responsible for UTIs because it lives in the digestive system and can be easily passed into the urinary tract.
Once inside the urinary tract, bacteria can cause inflammation, pain, and blockages, resulting in various symptoms, including frequent urination, painful urination, cloudy urine with a strong odor, abdominal pain/pressure, nausea/vomiting, and fever.
UTIs can cause serious complications such as sepsis (a life-threatening infection), permanent kidney damage, and even death if left untreated.
Certain factors can increase your risk of developing a UTI, including:
- Poor hygiene habits.
- Sexually active people.
- People with diabetes or weakened immune systems.
- Postmenopausal or elderly individuals.
- Pregnant women and people who have recently had surgery.
Types of Urinary Tract Infections
The symptoms for each type of UTI vary based on which part of the urinary tract is affected.
Kidney – Signs and symptoms
- Back or side pain
- High fever
- Shaking and chills
Ureter – Signs and symptoms
- Pain in the side of the abdomen
- Frequent need to urinate
- Burning sensation during urination
- Bloody, cloudy, or foul-smelling urine
- Strong-smelling urine
- Abdominal pain
Bladder – Signs and symptoms
- Difficulty starting the flow of urine (dysuria)
- A frequent urge to urinate (urinary urgency)
- Painful urination (burning at the urethra opening)
- Lower abdominal discomfort
Urethra – Signs and symptoms:
- Burning feeling while peeing
- More frequent need to pee than usual
Causes of UTI
A UTI is caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract and multiplying. The most common cause of a UTI is E. coli, a bacteria that usually lives in your intestines but can get into your urethra and bladder through contact with feces. Other causes include:
- Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
- Using spermicide or diaphragms for contraception.
- Blockage in the urinary tract from an enlarged prostate gland or kidney stones.
- Suppressed immune system due to HIV/AIDS or chemotherapy.
- Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to excess sugar in the urine, fostering bacterial growth.
Symptoms of UTI
The symptoms of a UTI vary depending on the part of the infected urinary tract. Common symptoms include:
- Burning sensation or painful urination.
- Frequent urge to urinate.
- Cloudy, bloody, or foul-smelling urine.
- Fever and chills.
- Pain in the abdomen, back, or side.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Fatigue and a general feeling of being unwell.
What tests will be done to diagnose a urinary tract infection?
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it is essential to see a doctor immediately, as UTIs can cause serious complications if left untreated. Your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about your medical history and lifestyle. Then they may order one or more tests, including urine analysis, and imaging studies such as:
- Urine culture
- Kidney Ultrasound
- CT Scan.
Urinary Tract Infection Nursing [UTI] Care Plan
Based on subjective and objective data collected, the patient likely suffers from a UTI.
- Subjective Data: The patient reports burning sensations when urinating, difficulty starting the urine flow, nausea, and abdominal discomfort.
- Objective Data: The patient has cloudy, foul-smelling urine with traces of blood. Abdominal pain is present, and there is a fever and chills.
UTI Nursing Diagnosis
Nurses play a crucial role in identifying and managing patients with UTIs. The nursing diagnosis for UTI involves recognizing signs and symptoms of the condition, including dysuria, fever, and abdominal pain, among others.
Through their clinical expertise, nurses can conduct a thorough patient assessment, perform urine analyses, and administer appropriate medications to relieve and prevent further complications. They also educate patients on preventive measures, such as proper hygiene practices and medication compliance, to minimize the risk of recurrent UTI episodes. Risk for infection related to microbial invasion of the urinary tract.
- Monitor vital signs hourly.
- Assess for signs/symptoms of infection (e.g., fever, chills).
- 3 Evaluate output/urine for color, clarity, and odor.
- Administer prescribed antibiotics as indicated.
- Encourage adequate fluid intake of at least 2 liters/day to help flush bacteria from the urinary tract.
- Instruct patient on proper hygiene practices to prevent infection recurrence.
- Educate the patient on UTI prevention strategies such as drinking plenty of fluids and urinating after intercourse.
- Provide emotional support and encourage patients to ask questions about their condition and treatment plan as needed.
The patient’s symptoms have improved, and they follow their prescribed treatment plan appropriately to reduce their risk of infection recurrence. They also understand the importance of preventive measures to reduce their risk of future UTIs.
What is the best thing to do for a urinary tract infection?
Urine, also known as pee, is produced by your kidneys from filtering your blood. Urine flows through the urinary system without contamination; bacteria can enter and cause a urinary tract infection (UTI).
To treat a UTI, you must visit a healthcare provider who can determine the best antibiotic based on the responsible bacteria. It’s essential to follow your prescription instructions carefully and finish all your medication because the infection may return and become more challenging to treat.
In cases where UTIs are recurrent, antibiotics may need to be taken daily or every other day or after sexual intercourse or at the first indication of symptoms – discuss these options with your healthcare provider.
For prevention, practice good hygiene and continually urinate after sexual intercourse. Drinking plenty of fluids also helps to flush bacteria from the urinary tract.
Women should avoid using scented soaps or bubble baths as these can upset the natural balance in the vagina and make them more prone to infection. It’s also good to wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothing that does not rub against your skin.
Finally, if you are experiencing symptoms, seek medical attention immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment. Early detection and treatment is key in preventing complications associated with UTIs. Together, these measures can help reduce your risk of developing a UTI.
A nursing care plan for UTI can help to reduce the risk of developing a UTI. It is essential to seek medical attention early for proper diagnosis and treatment, practice good hygiene, drink plenty of fluids, urinate after sexual intercourse and wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothing to prevent UTIs.
Mrs. Marie Brown has been a registered nurse for over 25 years. She began her nursing career at a Level I Trauma Center in downtown Chicago, Illinois. There she worked in the Emergency Department and on the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. After several years, she moved to the Midwest and continued her nursing career in a critical care setting. For the last 10 years of her nursing career, Mrs. Brown worked as a flight nurse with an air ambulance service. During this time, she cared for patients throughout the United States.