A MRSA urinary tract infection (MRSA UTI) occurs when MRSA bacteria somehow gets into the urethra and finally into the bladder where urine is stored.
For men, this may also affect the prostate. In certain case, the infection has been known to spread further from the bladder into the ureter and the kidneys but this is not so common.
Most cases of MRSA bladder infections start from the urethra and moves upward but in some cases, the infections spread into the kidneys or bladder from other body locations.
This can happen when bloodstream infections moves MRSA from one location of the body to another.
Note: It is also possible to get a Staph UTI. Staph aureus is the non-or-less antibiotic resistant Staphyloccocus bacteria but they usually respond better to antibiotics treatment. So the information in this article applies to both MRSA UTI and Staph UTI.
How do you get a MRSA urine infection?
Most UTI’s are triggered by E. coli bacteria, which starts from the intestines but MRSA seems to have become a major cause of bladder infections.
This is mainly because MRSA colonization is growing rapidly and people with active infections usually get boils or breakout areas in their groin or bottoms. This transfers the bacteria to the urethra.
There have also been cases where bladder infections occur after lower abdominal surgeries. However, MRSA UTIs occur more in people that have had a urinary catheter. For instance, the elderly who have bladder control issues may be infected.
About 1-10% of the population have MRSA bacteria their skin without being aware of it or without it leading to an infection. MRSA can survive in warm, moist body areas like the nose, armpits and groin area.
MRSA can spread easily through the hands, which is why you need to have good hygiene prevent or minimize the spread of MRSA. This is quite important when you are using the bathroom so that you don’t spread it to your groin or urethra areas.
Yes, catheters are the major source of spreading MRSA into the urethra but MRSA UTIs can also occur when infected people don’t wash their hands before using the bathroom.
If UTIs are not addressed on time, they can spread into the kidneys and bloodstream, thereby causing lethal infections.
UTI risk factors and symptoms
Some of the risk factors for MRSA UTIs are:
- Using Catheter
- Being elderly
- Staying in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities for a long period of time
- Habitual use of antibiotic
Symptoms can include the following:
- Throbbing hot or burning sensation when you pee
- Peeing repeatedly and still feeling like going, even after your bladder is empty
- Experiencing lower abdomen or pelvic pain, uneasiness or pressure
- Experiencing Lower back pain
- Urinary incontinence, i.e. involuntary urine leakage
- Having bloody or cloudy urine
- Bouts of fever, chills or nausea, sometimes with more severe or complex infections
Please note that most elderly people may not show any of these symptoms even though they tend to have frequent UTI infections.
Are UTI’s contagious? Precautions and prevention tips
Anyone with MRSA in their urine should be considered contagious. Remember that MRSA is contagious and can spread merely by a simple touch. Once they are INSIDE the body, especially through skin cuts or wounds, infection is inevitable.
Simply put, if urine with MRSA bacteria gets on an open wound, skin infection is definitely possible. Using the bathroom without properly washing your hands and then touching others will spread the bacteria to them and likely cause infection.
Precautions if you’re infected: You need to maintain good hygiene. In fact, you may need to wear gloves in certain situations to minimize or avoid spreading MRSA.
For instance, you may need to use gloves when peeing or handling other people’s urine (for medical staff), when using the bathroom and also when using catheters.
Make sure your toilets, bathrooms, handles and sink areas are always clean. Don’t forget to regularly wash your hands. Most importantly, try to avoid sex during an active infection, so as not to transfer to your partner.
If someone else is infected: The first thing is to always maintain a good hygiene. Always use gloves when assisting with catheters, urinals, etc. Remember to wash your hands after attending to infected people or touching surfaces or other objects that they may have been contaminated.
General prevention: If you are a carrier, always wash your hands BEFORE using the bathroom so that you don’t transfer the bacteria to your urethra. If you don’t, you may give yourself a bladder infection.
Don’t forget to wash your hands IMMEDIATELY AFTER a bathroom run. Also do this if you find yourself with someone who has MRSA infection or UTI.
How do you know if you have MRSA in your urine?
To check if there is MRSA in your urine, let your doctor run a urine test know if your symptoms are consistent with MRSA or any other infection.
Urinalysis: This is done to check your urine color and clarity. You may need a microscopic evaluation with it so as to check for bacteria and/or red and white blood cell counts. Urinalysis alone would not confirm if you have MRSA.
Urine Culture and Sensitivity: This is the surest way to confirm whether you have been infected. A urine culture test will show the actual bacteria causing the infection.
Do a sensitivity test alongside the urine culture test to determine the right antibiotic treatment that would best suit your MRSA strain.
Sadly, many doctors or health worker prescribe antibiotic treatments simply based on symptoms. Unfortunately, this will only maximize the chances of the MRSA becoming even more resistant to antibiotics. For your own sake, make sure you do the right tests.