Lupus can make you more vulnerable to infection, including UTIs. This susceptibility is associated with changes in your immune system’s response.
Lupus, an autoimmune condition, weakens your immune system. This can make you more prone to all types of infections, especially those involving your skin, respiratory system, and urinary tract.
Some medications for lupus can affect your immune system, potentially increasing your susceptibility to UTIs. Conditions such as lupus nephritis and lupus cystitis can contribute to additional complications.
While lupus does not directly cause UTIs, certain factors related to lupus can potentially increase your risk. Lupus and its treatments can increase the likelihood of encountering other issues within your urinary system.
Additionally, if lupus affects your kidneys, it could result in kidney damage or complications, leading to an increased risk of kidney infections, which can manifest as UTIs.
Lupus cystitis may appear before the diagnosis of lupus, often showing nonspecific urinary and digestive symptoms or sometimes no symptoms at all. Though rare, it’s serious since it may lead to irreversible kidney and bladder damage.
Diagnosis of lupus cystitis can be challenging because of its vague symptoms, but it’s crucial for effective treatment. A better understanding of this condition could lead to earlier diagnosis and enhanced treatments.
Anything that prevents your bladder from completely emptying or causes irritation in your urinary tract can increase your risk of UTIs.
Lupus nephritis, a complication of lupus involving kidney inflammation, can potentially increase your susceptibility to UTIs.
Certain medications to treat lupus, such as corticosteroids and immunosuppressants, can weaken your immunity. This can increase your risk of UTIs and contribute to inflammation in the bladder lining, known as lupus cystitis.
Additional risk factors include:
- a previous UTI
- older age
- kidney stones
- specific types of cancer
- prostate enlargement
- limited mobility postsurgery
- extended bed rest
- extended use of urinary catheters
- abnormal urinary structures at birth
To stay healthy with lupus, it’s essential to prioritize a healthy lifestyle and maintain regular medical checkups. Consider getting an annual flu shot to support your immunity.
To help reduce your risk of UTIs, promptly address any symptoms that may indicate a UTI, such as pain or burning during urination, frequent urination, and cloudy urine.
Consult a healthcare professional if you experience urinary incontinence or difficulty completely emptying your bladder.
Stay adequately hydrated by drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. Increase your water intake if you experience any UTI symptoms.
Additional precautions to reduce your risk of UTIs include:
If you have lupus, it’s crucial to be mindful of your heightened susceptibility to infections, particularly in your urinary tract.
Be aware of any urinary symptoms and that lupus can contribute to kidney conditions, elevating your likelihood of developing a UTI.
To minimize these risks, take necessary precautions, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and follow your treatment plan. Regularly communicate with your healthcare professional.