Urinary tract infections.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect your urinary tract, including your bladder (cystitis), urethra (urethritis) or kidneys (kidney infection).

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
  • pee that looks cloudy, dark or has a strong smell
  • needing to pee suddenly or more urgently than usual
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 cases of cystitis in women, symptoms will get better after 2 to 3 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.
Women who haven’t experienced a UTI before, children, men and pregnant women with symptoms of a UTI should visit their doctor.
It’s important to ask for an urgent appointment or get help if your symptoms are more serious.

More information can be found here:

NHS – Urinary Tract Infections

NHS – Cystitis

Do I need antibiotics?

Cystitis should get better by itself but sometimes a short course of antibiotics is needed. Your healthcare professional may give you a prescription of antibiotics but suggest you wait for 48 hours before taking them, in case your symptoms go away on their own.

What treatment do I need?

Your local pharmacist can advise on treatments to help manage any discomfort, you should:

  • drink plenty of fluid
  • rest
  • take paracetamol, if required to manage pain or temperature

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.

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