When Elvis Mavoko first started experiencing pain while urinating, he did not immediately visit the doctor.
The 38-year-old businessman opted to instead self-diagnose and self medicate in the hope that things would go back to normal
“In December last year, I started having the urge to urinate all the time and when I did, it came out in short spats and I would experience a burning sensation that left me feeling shaken.
Despite these symptoms, I was not ready to tell my doctor about it. I thought I had a sexually transmitted disease and feared stigmatisation,” Elvis says.
After enduring the pain for a long time, Elvis finally decided to go to hospital for a checkup. The doctor recommended a number of tests that later indicated he had a urinary tract infection (UTI).
The medics also found that the infection had spread to the better part of his urinary system and needed some critical diagnosis. What followed was a series of medical examinations that could otherwise have been avoided.
“Elvis is just one of the few cases we get of people suffering from an UTI and many will only show up when the pain becomes unbearable. We find that most people have no idea what this disease is,” says Dr Patrick Munene, a physician at Megalife Hospital based in Ruai.
Dr Munene says UTIs are becoming a threat to society owing to the ignorance surrounding this disease especially with the assumption that it mainly afflicts women.
“Although women are the most vulnerable to this disease, we also see a substantial number of men dealing with this ailment. Many are also not aware that UTIs are not necessarily transmitted through sexual contact but mainly through poor hygiene,” says.
The doctor says people need to be very intentional with their personal hygiene including ensuring their inner wear is well dried (preferable in the sun) before they wear them.
“At times, UTIs will recur due to re-infection especially if they did not completely clear out the first time. This is especially common to men since the bacteria may hide inside the prostate. When a UTI is especially complicated, it is advisable to have a urine culture and some other additional laboratory tests done,” says Dr Munene.
According to the doctor, UTIs will normally improve greatly within just three days of taking antibiotics. If this does not happen, the doctor recommends using different drugs at a different dosage but also seeking further tests.
“Having an ultra sound or a CT scan done is advisable since it helps to check for any abnormalities in your urinary tract. Also, UTIs can get resistant to antibiotics so avoid self-medicating and only seek treatment from the hospital to avoid the infection spreading into your blood system,” he says.
Dr Munene says UTI prevention is the ultimate solution to the menace. One should avoid multiple sexual partners, urinate when the urge sets in, never hold on to urine, drink plenty of water and observe proper hygiene.