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Bladder / Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)


Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) - Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) affect your urinary tract, which includes organs such as your bladder, urethra or kidneys. UTIs can often be treated with antibiotics, but may not need to.

What are the Symptoms of a UTI?

There are many different symptoms of a UTI, including:

  • A burning, painful sensation while urinating.
  • Needing to urinate more frequently during the night.
  • Needing to urinate suddenly or more urgently.
  • Needing to urinate more frequently than usual.
  • A high or very low temperature, or feeling hot or shivery.
  • Urine that looks cloudy, dark or smells strongly, or contains blood.
  • Pain in your back, just below the ribs, or lower stomach pain.

What can cause a UTI?

UTIs are usually caused by bacteria in faeces (poo) entering the urinary tract. The bacteria enters through the tube through which you urinate (urethra).

Women have a shorter urethra than men, which means bacteria can more easily reach the bladder or kidneys and cause an infection.

Things that increase the likelihood of contracting a UTI:

  • Sexual Intercourse
  • Pregnancy
  • Kidney stones or other conditions that block the urinary tract
  • Conditions that make it difficult to empty the bladder fully – like  enlarged prostate in men and constipation in children
  • Catheters - a tube used to pass urine
  • A weakened immune system
  • Not drinking enough
  • Unclean or un-dry genital area

How can a Bladder/Urinary Tract Infection be treated?

If your specialist suspects that you may have a UTI they may require a urine test, but this is not always necessary.

  • Painkillers: If you're UTI is mild it may be best to ease symptoms with painkillers, preferably Paracetamol.
  • Antibiotics: You're specialist may prescribe a short course of antibiotics - it's important to complete this course even if your symptoms are gone.

How can UTIs be prevented?

Things you should do to prevent a UTI happening or recurring:

  • When you go to the toilet, wipe from front to back.
  • Drink lots of water so you urinate regularly and do not feel thirsty.
  • Wash the vagina and surrounding area with water before and after sexual intercourse.
  • Urinate as soon as possible following sex.
  • Change incontinence pads immediately if soiled.

Things you should avoid doing to prevent a UTI happening or recurring:

  • Do not hold in urine if you need to urinate.
  • Avoid wearing tight or synthetic underwear.
  • Avoid sugary food and drinks - these may cause bacteria to grow.
  • Urinate as soon as possible following sex.
  • Try to fully empty your bladder when you go to the toilet.
  • Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol, this may irritate your bladder.
  • Avoid scented soap.

Bladder / Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) - Specialists


Dr Pallavi Latthe

Consultant Gynaecologist and subspecialist Urogynaecologist

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