You can’t quite explain it. You hope it will go away. Yet it doesn’t. That burning sensation down under that rips you apart and makes you run faster than Usain Bolt to try to get to the toilet on time to pee (hopefully you do). The feeling of having any problem down there can cause hell on earth. I appreciate we never like talking about private or embarrassing lumps, bumps, smells, or sensations, but sometimes we just have to – it’s for your own good! Problems down below are a lot more common than people realise – more than 50% of women are likely to have a urinary tract infection (UTI) at some point in their life and women are 30 times more likely to get a UTI than men. In this week’s article, we discuss the agonising world of UTIs. We will look at some frequently asked questions surrounding what they are, symptoms, treatments and what we can do to prevent them.
What Is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
A UTI, is an infection located anywhere along the urinary tract. They can occur when harmful bacteria, normally from poo, enters your urethra – the tube where pee leaves the body and can travel up to your bladder and kidneys. Most of which, thankfully, can be treated with antibiotics. Women have a shorter urethra than men, making it easier for bacteria to travel up into the bladder or kidneys and cause an infection.
Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms
Burning or pain when urinating
Pressure in lower abdomen
Sudden urge to urinate with not much coming out
Feeling tired and Fatigued
If your UTI has progressed and the bacteria has made it's way up your urinary tract into the kidneys you may experience more severe symptoms such as:
Back and flank pain
Blood in the urine (haematuria)
Fevers and chills
Shaking and confusion
Who Commonly Gets Urinary Tract Infections?
The short answer to this is everyone. That being said, there are a lot of factors that may increase your chances of getting a UTI. You may be at an increased risk of getting a UTI if:
You are female- as mentioned earlier in this article because the length of the urethra is much smaller compared to males then it is much easier for bacteria to travel through the tract and into your bladder and kidneys.
Diabetics – Those with high blood glucose levels are also at an increased risk of getting UTIs, especially since sugar passed in the urine can promote bacterial growth.
Those who are sexually active – The bacteria known to cause UTI live in the area around the anus, sex can shift bacteria toward the front. From there, it’s just a short hop up the urethra into the bladder, where it can multiply and cause an infection
Pregnancy – The growing foetus can put pressure on the bladder and can cause bacteria to get trapped, causing an infection
You are also more likely to get a UTI if you are catheterised, going or have gone through menopause, or suffer from kidney stones.
Urinary Tract Infection Antibiotics
For most UTIs there are two main antibiotics that are used to treat the infection. Trimethoprim is an anti-folate antibacterial agent that inhibits the enzyme that catalyses the synthesis of bacterial DNA – in essence it stops the DNA from replicating itself to spread the infection. The typical dose for an uncomplicated UTI is 200mg (one tablet)twice a day for3 days. You may feel a bit of nausea when you take these tablets therefore it is best to take them with food, because it is only a short course of antibiotics you should hopefully not experience this.
The other main antibiotic used is a drug called nitrofurantoin - or Macrobid as it is best known as. Macrobid 100mg modified-release capsules work by disrupting ribosomal RNA, DNA and other key cell components, and stops the bacteria cell from forming. The standard dose is one capsule twice a day for 3 days for women or one capsule twice a day for 7 days for men. Similarly you can feel a bit nauseated and possibly sick when you take these capsules so it also works best when taken with food. Macrobid or nitrofurantoin is now considered to be the first line treatment for uncomplicated urinary tract infections
Symptomatic relief should be noticeable in 24 – 48 hours of starting the course of antibiotics. However, it is vitally important that you finish the course of antibiotics to completely clear the infection even if you do start to feel better. If you do not complete it there is a chance that the infection is still there and can flare up again, with the possibility of the antibiotics not working next time since the infection has already gotten used to the drug. If you have completed the course of antibiotics and still have symptoms you must contact your GP.
How Can I Prevent UTIs From Recurring?
You can take measures that can reduce the likelihood of getting a UTI, however there is no guarantee. Steps such as when going to the toilet wiping front to back can help stop the bacteria from entering the urethra. Drink plenty of water as this will not only keep you hydrated but it will also help flush out any possible bacteria you may have in your urinary tract. Try and urinate before and after having sex as this will also help flush out any bacteria that may be harbouring in the urinary tract. Do not use feminine hygiene sprays or douches as this can really irritate the balance of bacteria you have in the urinary tract and can cause an infection.
Getting Treatment for UTIs Online
Like that old friend who you haven’t seen in a long time, we are always here for you. Whether it be to discuss any symptoms you may be experiencing, or looking to buy something that will give relief for that fire down below, you can chat to our team of medical professionals and we will offer prompt and professional advice to you. Cloud Pharmacy can offer painkillers to aid in resolving any symptomatic relief associated with your UTI. We also stock and supply Macrobid and trimethoprim to fight off the infection. Our team of specialists will ensure that you are given appropriate treatment and we will discreetly deliver your medication to your door using our next day delivery service. You can start your free consultation here. Our medical team will review your answers to make sure your symptoms are linked to that a UTI and are eligible for treatment.