Systemic Infection (Urosepsis)

What is Sepsis? 

Your immune system usually works to fight any germs (bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites) to prevent infection. If an infection does occur, your immune system will try to fight it, although you may need help with medication such as antibiotics. Sepsis occurs when chemicals released in the bloodstream to fight an infection trigger inflammation throughout the body. This can cause a cascade of changes that damage multiple organ systems, leading them to fail, sometimes even resulting in death.

What is Urosepsis? 

Urosepsis is a term used to describe a type of sepsis that is caused by an infection in the urinary tract. It is a complication often caused by urinary tract infections that are not treated quickly or properly.

Because urosepsis is a complication of a UTI, most people with the condition are likely to have symptoms of a UTI already.

UTI Symptoms

  • Urinary Frequency
  • A burning or itching sensation while urinating
  • Feeling that the bladder is full, even after urinating
  • Cloudy urine
  • Haematuria (blood in the urine)
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Pain during sex
  • Pressure in the lower back or lower abdomen
  • Malaise, or a feeling of being generally unwell

Urosepsis Symptoms

  • Pain near the kidneys, on the lower sides of the back
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Reduced urine volume or no urine
  • Trouble breathing or rapid breathing
  • Confusion or brain fog
  • Unusual anxiety levels
  • Changes in heart rate, such as palpitations or a rapid heartbeat
  • Weak pulse
  • High fever or low body temperature
  • Profuse sweating

Complications

  • Collections of pus near the kidneys or prostate
  • Organ failure
  • Kidney damage
  • Scar tissue in the urinary tract
  • Septic shock

Treatment

If caught early, UTIs are easy to treat with antibiotics. A person with a UTI also needs to drink plenty of fluids to help flush the urinary tract.

However, treating urosepsis is not as simple, because it may not respond to antibiotics alone. A doctor will likely start the treatment with antibiotics because it is essential to treat the bacteria that caused the original UTI.

Doctors will monitor a person closely to see how well they respond to the antibiotics. If a person has severe sepsis or septic shock, they may require oxygen.

Some people will need surgery to get rid of the source of an untreated infection completely.

Doctors may prescribe vasopressors, which constrict the blood vessels and increase a person's blood pressure to keep their organs from shutting down due to septic shock.

If urosepsis is not treated quickly, the person may require emergency hospitalization in the intensive care unit (ICU). If urosepsis progresses and the person develops septic shock, they will need emergency medical treatment.