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UTI's (Urinary Tract Infections)

Urinary tract infections, commonly referred to as UTI's and also known as cystitis, are infections that can affect the urethra, bladder and/or kidneys. They are more common in women than men for two main reasons:

  1. in women the opening to the urethra (the tube that empties the urine from the bladder) is in closer proximity to the anus than it is in men, allowing for easy transfer of bacteria from one opening to another, and

  2. in women the urethra is much shorter than it is in men, thereby allowing for easy passage of bacteria to move from the external opening to inside the urinary system.

UTI’s are also more common in infants and older people and women who have recently become sexually active or women who are post-menopausal.

Causes of UTI's

E.Coli, a type of bacteria commonly found in the bowel is the most common cause of UTI’s.

  • Normal sexual activity can result in bacteria from the anal area to be moved closer to the female urethra 
  • Mechanical or neurological abnormality of the kidneys and/or bladder can cause urinary stasis
  • Chronic constipation can prevent proper emptying of the bladder
  • Lower oestrogen levels (post menopause) can cause changes to the bladder making infection more likely
  • People with catheters are more likely to get UTI’s

Symptoms of UTI's

The symptoms of a UTI may include:

  • burning on urination
  • sore back and side
  • frequent and small amounts of urination
  • blood in the urine
  • fever
  • In infants and the elderly symptoms may be non-specific such as:
  • weight loss
  • fever
  • vomiting 

In the elderly confusion may be a symptom of a UTI.
Diagnosis of a UTI is based on the symptoms and at times it may be necessary for a urine sample to be taken.


Treatment of UTI's

If caught early UTI's can be self limiting and treatments available over the counter may be all that are needed to assist in managing symptoms.

If further treatment is required your Pharmacy 777 Pharmacist will help to determine if referral to your doctor is required for a course of antibiotics.

Symptoms such as discomfort and burning can be relieved before the antibiotics take effect (which can take up to 36 hours) these include paracetamol and urinary alkalinisers.  There are also natural agents that can help the antibiotics get rid of the infection such as cranberry.  To help prevent UTI’s in females a couple of very handy tips are:

  • After going to the toilet always wipe from front to back
  • After sexual intercourse always go to the toilet and urinate

In post-menopausal women, local oestrogen gel to the vaginal area can prevent UTI’s from occurring.


Next Steps

Please talk to your 777 Pharmacist about what non-prescription treatments may be suitable for you.

If you are already taking antibiotics, check with your Pharmacist about what other products are suitable to combine with your antibiotics and other medications and which combination will be most effective.

The Pharmacist may choose to perform an in-store medicine review to help establish the best course of action for managing your symptoms with medication.

If our Pharmacists feel it is necessary you will be referred to a GP and on request the Pharmacist can write a referral outlining the treatment used to date and the concerns that need to be investigated. 


 

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