What is a UTI?
Cystitis is a urinary tract infection (UTI) that affects the bladder only. Water infection is the simple common term often used to describe any infections of the urinary tract, including everything from the urethra to the bladder to the kidneys. Symptoms are often most noticeable when you go for a pee.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) may include:
- pain or a burning sensation when peeing (dysuria)
- needing to pee more often than usual during the night (nocturia)
- pee that looks cloudy, dark or has a strong smell
- needing to pee suddenly or more urgently than usual
- needing to pee more often than usual
- blood in your pee
- lower tummy pain or pain in your back, just under the ribs
- a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
- a very low temperature below 36C
Children with UTIs may also:
- have a high temperature. When you touch their back, neck or tummy it feels hotter than usual
- appear generally unwell. Babies and young children may be irritable or unsettled, and not feed or eat properly
- wet the bed or wet themselves
- be sick
For older people, frail people who have problems with memory, learning and concentration (such as dementia), and people with a urinary catheter, symptoms of a UTI may also include:
- changes in behaviour, such as acting upset or confused (delirium)
- wetting themselves (incontinence) that is worse than usual
- new shivering or shaking (rigors)
How long could it last?
For most minor UTIs, symptoms will get better after 2 to 3 days. Your local pharmacist can advise on treatments to help manage any discomfort. For more serious UTIs where you need antibiotics, the course of treatment can be for up to 7 days.
When should I visit my GP practice?
You should always see a healthcare professional if your symptoms don’t improve after 2-3 days, get worse or if they come back after treatment. You may need to be prescribed an antibiotic. A healthcare professional will also give advice as to how you can help prevent the infection from coming back.
Men and pregnant women with symptoms of a UTI should visit their doctor.
More information can be found here:
Do I need antibiotics?
If women have symptoms such as fever, shivering and pain in one side of the body between belly and back, this might suggest that the infection has progressed to the kidneys and antibiotics will be needed.
What treatment do I need?
If you get frequent infections, there are some things you can try to stop it coming back:
- drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
- avoid perfumed bubble bath, soap or talcum powder around your genitals. Use plain, un-perfumed varieties and have a shower rather than a bath
- washing your genitals after sexual intercourse
- go to the toilet as soon as you need to pee and always empty your bladder fully
- wipe your bottom from front to back when you go to the toilet (for women)
- wear underwear made from cotton rather than synthetic material such as nylon. Don’t wear tight jeans and trousers
- use cranberry juices/tablets. These can be bought over the counter from a chemist or in supermarkets
If these measures don’t work and you think you may have a urine infection, please speak to your doctor.
If you are ever worried that your symptoms might be something more severe then you can visit 111.nhs.uk or call NHS 111.