What is a UTI and what causes it?

UTI’s are an infection of the urinary tract or bladder causing pain and inflammation. It is also commonly known as a water infection, bladder infection or Cystitis. It is caused by bacteria, usually from the anus, entering the urinary tract (urethra) and moving up to the bladder, causing infection.

The most common causes of Urinary Tract Infections are bacterial infection – most commonly by caused the bacterium, E.Coli. The bacteria is more likely to enter the urethra during sex, if you wipe from back to front after using the toilet, when inserting a tampon or a contraceptive diaphragm. Bacteria in your bladder are more likely to cause an infection if there is a blockage in, or there has been damage or irritation to, your urinary system.

UTI’s are most common in women. It is estimated almost all women will experience a UTI at least once in their life. Around 1 in 5 of those that experience this will suffer with it more than once, know as recurrent Urinary Tract Infection. UTI’s are more common in women due to their shorter urethra, allowing bacteria to reach the bladder more easily.
It is most common in women who:
– Are pregnant
– Are sexually active
– Have been through the menopause
– Are diabetic
– Use a catheter
– Have kidney problems

Treatment advice for UTI

Women who are able to self-diagnose their UTI are able to purchase treatment without the need to visit their GP. The following treatment options are available:
– Urine alkylising sachets (UTI sachets) – these help to make the urine less acidic reducing the stinging sensation when urinating. Examples include Cymalon and Cystopurin.
– Over the counter painkillers – normal painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used to reduce discomfort.
– Antibiotics – Trimethoprim is available to purchase from our Pharmacy for women who have previously been diagnosed with a UTI by their GP. Trimethoprim is the first-line antibiotic for treatment of simple cases of infection in women. It is taken twice daily in a short course of 3 days to clear up most simple cases of infection. Trimethoprim will normally improve the symptoms of a UTI within 24 hours and cure the condition within 72 hours.

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