Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sniffing out Urinary Tracts Infections -UTIs

The Olfactory, or "smell" are of the brain, is thought to be one of the oldest parts of our brain from an evolutionary point of view; hence an unexpected smell can take you back decades to an event long forgotten, but stored away in that mysterious part of your thinking apparatus! I was reminded of this when reading about "stinky urine" and how it can raise the suspicion that an infant may have a urinary tract infection.

One of the lesser delights of being a parent is changing diapers/nappies, and most of us developed the skill of knowing "what was in there" often reflected on how your baby was health-wise. You can all probably remember that if your baby was breast fed that the day after you introduced cows milk or some solid foods, then when you came to change their diaper the next time, it was a "whole new experience"!

As a GP I learned that the sense of smell was always a quite useful tool - the smell of stale alcohol was always a dead giveaway, as was that of tobacco smoke in teenagers hair/clothes! But it was also helpful for diabetics who weren't looking after themselves and for wounds that were becoming infected.

And if an infant was unwell, I always listened to "Mum", because in the great majority of cases, "Mum" was always right, and if she said her infants urine smelt a bit strong, then it was time to get a sample to send off to the lab for investigation. Now the scientists and researchers have confirmed this thanks to Marie Gauthier, MD, from the Department of Pediatrics, Sainte-Justine University Hospital Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Although their findings cannot to be said to be certain proof, the presence of "malodorous urine" should raise the suspicion of a UTI, and further investigation should be undertaken.

With the increasing aged population, the incidence of incontinence is also on the rise, and many of these older people rely on the use of incontinence pads/pants every day, and they too are at increased risk of UTIs. For them, we need to use our noses and our brains to make sure that they are diagnosed and treated appropriately too, because a urinary infection can become a life-threatening event.

Hopefully this is some information that you wont sniff at! 

Ampersands & angle brackets need to be encoded.

1 comment:

Mariodacatsmom said...

Good post. I think you are a mind reader because my next post was going to be on adult diapers. I'll do a referral to your site - maybe after Easter.