Complications of urinary tract infections

Complications of urinary tract infections

Complications related to bladder infections are generally considered rare, provided that a patient takes the full recommended course of medication over the prescribed dosage period. The main concern when it comes to lower urinary tract infections, however, is the potential for bacterial organisms to reach the kidneys, resulting in upper urinary tract infection.

If kidney infections do occur, they may persist or recur, so appropriate treatment is important as some damage caused to the kidneys may be irreversible.

Complications of kidney infections can result in the following:

  • Impaired kidney function
  • Scarring of the kidneys (tissue damage)
  • Hypertension / high blood pressure
  • Kidney failure
  • Septicaemia (this condition is considered life-threatening)

Pregnancy related UTI complications can include:

  • Uterine hypoperfusion (shock is often induced as a result of maternal dehydration)
  • Maternal anaemia
  • Foetal cerebral hypoperfusion (ischemia)
  • Low birth weight (of the baby)
  • Premature labour and premature birth
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Preeclampsia (toxaemia)
  • Amnionitis (infection of the uterus)
  • Septic shock
  • Respiratory failure

Males are susceptible to the following complications:

  • Bacteraemia (bacteria in the blood), septic shock, epididymitis (inflammation of the epididymis), prostatic abscess, seminal vesticulitis (inflammation of the seminal vesicles) and kidney infection (often as a result of acute bacterial prostatitis).
  • Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate), epididymitis or orchitis (as a result of gonococcal and nongonococcal urethritis)
  • Urethral strictures
  • Fistula formations (abnormal connections between the blood vessels, intestines or hollow organs)
  • Recurrent infections
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