By Dr. Hema Jajoo, Gynaecology
Asymptomatic Bacteriuria is a condition where a significant amount of bacteria are found in the urine. This might indicate that there is an infection in the urinary tract. As asymptomatic means no symptoms, you might not find any visible symptoms and signs of the urinary tract infection. The bacterium called E.coli is responsible for Asymptomatic Bacteriuria. Bacteria might get introduced to the urinary tract during sexual intercourse or cleaning up after bowel. Normally this condition neither causes any serious complications nor needs any treatment.
This condition when affect pregnant women can lead to serious complications and hence this discussion. It is less common in men. However, the condition is also observed in people having diabetes and bladder catheters.
For pregnant women, the infection can cause serious problems like pyelonephritis that is an inflammation of the kidney. Problems like acute cystitis and acute urethritis may also arise due to the infection. It can also cause complications like preterm labour (birth before the 37th week of pregnancy) and low birth weight among newborn babies.
Who are at risk of Asymptotic Bacteriuria?
The following risk factors can increase the chances of infection –
• Old age
• Receiving a kidney transplant
• Taking medicines that might suppress your immune system
• Diseases that affect the immune system like cancer, HIV and AIDS
• Kidney stones that might obstruct your urinary tract
• Urinary incontinence
• Injuries in the spinal cord
• Using urinary catheters
Normally unless one has active urinary tract infection (UTI) one does not need treatment for this condition. In acute UTI the doctor may give you a short antibiotic course of about 5 t0 7 days by oral route. For pregnant woman this condition should be treated even if they have no symptoms because it can lead to ac pylonephritis which sometimes can be fatal. Depending upon theurine culture reports antibiotics are given for 7 to 10 days. After taking antibiotics, a urine culture test is conducted for ensuring that the bacterias are killed.
The colonization of bacteria can be prevented using the following steps –
• Drink plenty of water every day to flush out the bacteria from the urinary tract. You can try drinking cranberry juice to slow down the bacteria growth.
• After sexual intercourse, urinate as early as possible.
• After a bowel movement, women must wipe from front to back.