UTIs and You
'It hurts when I pass urine and I have to go every five minutes.'
These are the classic and rather distressing symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI).
UTIs are caused by bacteria (or germs) entering the urinary system, usually via the urethra (the tube that passes urine from the bladder to outside the body). Fortunately, UTIs usually respond well to simple treatment.Who is at risk?
One in three women and one in twenty men will get a UTI in their lifetime. Women are more at risk than men because their urethra is shorter, making it easier for bacteria to move up the urethra, enter the bladder and cause an infection.
Men and children rarely get UTIs. If they do develop a UTI, an assessment by a GP is recommended to make sure there is no underlying problem. Frequent UTIs in women also need further assessment. High fever and pain in the back (kidney area) can indicate a kidney infection and this needs urgent medical treatment. What are some of the symptoms?Burning sensation when passing urine
Lower abdominal pain when passing urine
Passing urine more frequently than usual
Passing urine before you can get to the toilet (leaking or incontinence)
Feeling the need to urinate but not being able to, or only passing a few drops
Feeling like your bladder is still full, even after urination
Smelly urine or urine that is bloody, cloudy or darker than normal
How is it treated?
The distressing pain and frequent urination can be decreased by using special sachets from the chemist that decrease the acidity of the urine. They are mixed in water and give relief within hours. Drinking plenty of water is also useful. Antibiotics are often required and it is important to see your GP as soon as possible. A urine sample will be sent to the laboratory to check for infection and also to test against different antibiotics. The symptoms should completely resolve within a few days. If this is not the case it is important to review with your GP.
How can it be prevented?
Drink plenty of water to flush the urinary system
Go to the toilet as soon as you feel the need
Wipe from front to back after going to the toilet to avoid transfer of bacteria
Make sure you have adequate lubrication during sex and go to the toilet immediately after sex.
Published with the permission of the Jean Hailes Foundation for Women's Health
Toll free number 1800 151 441 for women seeking further health information www.jeanhailes.org.au
Another good resource is Kidney Health Australia www.kidney.org.au or call 1800 4 KIDNEY (1800 4 543 639).