What is a UTI?
UTIs are a bacterial infection of the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body). In some cases, the infection can travel up the tract, infecting the bladder and then the kidneys.
Please note that symptoms and severity can vary by individual.
- A burning sensation when passing urine
- A frequent and/or urgent need to urinate but with little urine to pass
- Sometimes pain around the pubic bone or lower back
- Unusual, but the urine may contain blood or appear cloudy
- If the infection has reached the kidneys, fever, nausea and even vomiting may occur
If you suspect a UTI
You must visit your doctor as UTIs are unlikely to resolve themselves without treatment and can spread to the bladder and kidneys, making you very unwell.
You’ll be asked to provide a urine sample that will be tested for bacteria. The usual treatment is a course of oral antibiotics with many doctors also prescribing medication to relieve the pain. Drinking plenty of water is advised and you should experience improvement in two to three days.
If the urgency to pass urine concerns you, a small TENA pad or liner, specifically designed for a thinner, fast flow, will keep you feeling confident while the antibiotics take effect.
It’s not unusual to get repeat UTIs so it’s always best to seek medical advice as soon as you suspect an infection.
Who gets UTIs?
Some women are genetically predisposed. Diabetes, pregnancy and multiple sclerosis can contribute to individuals being more prone, and conditions that affect urine flow, such as stroke, spinal cord injury and kidney stones, can also have an impact.
Although mostly affecting women, men can also get UTIs.
Young children and the elderly can also be afflicted. For these groups, the symptoms listed above may not be present. So if you’re caring for a small child or elderly person who becomes unwell, promptly seek medical advice.
Tips to avoid UTIs
Not guaranteed, but these simple habits can reduce the chances of developing a UTI.
- Drink plenty of water every day. It helps flush bacteria out of the tract
- Empty your bladder when you feel the urge – don’t hang on. Try not to rush and make sure you’ve completely emptied your bladder. Some women find standing up and sitting down again can help with this
- On the toilet, always wipe from front to back
- Have a shower instead of a bath
- Urinate after sex to flush away any bacteria
- Physical contraceptives such as condoms, IUDs, spermicides and diaphragms can contribute, so if you are suffering frequent UTIs, you might wish to discuss options with your health care professional
- Bacteria breeds best in warm, moist environments often created by synthetic fabrics and tight pants, so chose cotton underwear and looser clothing to keep the area dry and cool
Did you know?
Drink 6-8 glass of water a day to promote healthy bladder movement.
Tena pads are designed specifically for the absorption of urine, whereas menstrual pads are not.
1 in 3 women who have children will experience incontinence liners, pads
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