5 symptoms of UTIs and how to treat them

Posted: 30/09/2021

What is a urinary tract infection?

A urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria that are naturally present in the perineal area travel up the urethral tubing and into the bladder, this causes an infection that irritates the lining of the bladder and the urethral tubing.

Women are more at risk for this painful condition due to their shorter urethral tube. It is estimated around 50% of all women in the UK have experienced a UTI.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of a UTI can include:

  1. A burning or stinging sensation when urinating.
  2. Feeling like you have to urinate more frequently and/or that you have to rush to get to the toilet more quickly. Often, despite this feeling of needing to go you may pass only a very small amount.
  3. Urine appearing cloudy, sometimes with blood
  4. Discomfort or aching in the lower abdomen
  5. Occasionally, patients may develop pain in the mid back area and a high fever. These symptoms suggest a possible kidney infection and require urgent consultation with a doctor.

How long does the infection last?

Some urinary tract infections may pass in 1-3 days. If it is not settling or appearing to get worse, it can usually be easily treated with a short course of antibiotics. Sometimes longer courses of treatment may be needed if there is concern that things have not settled or if there is a history of recurrent infections.

Can I treat my UTI at home?

If you are concerned you may have symptoms of a UTI we recommend you get in touch to have a GP consultation, which can be done over the phone or in person. One of our doctors will discuss your symptoms and may do a test on a urine specimen called urinalysis. This can help guide treatment, particularly if the infection does not settle, or if you experience recurrent infections.

There are some steps you can take at home if you feel you are in the early stages of developing a UTI. These include:

  1. Drink a good amount of fluid such as water or milk/weak tea.
  2. Avoid alcohol and strong caffeine.
  3. Take 1 tablespoon of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda) dissolved in water every 3-4 hours - this can reduce the acidity of the urine and ease symptoms.
  4. Take over-the-counter painkillers and perhaps place a hot water bottle over the lower abdominal area.

*We do not advise using any antibiotic treatment unless this has been discussed with a doctor*

How can I avoid UTIs?

Some steps that can be helpful if you suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections are:

  • Maintain a good fluid intake.
  • Wash the perineal area with plain water, avoiding soaps and bubble baths.
  • Wash the perineal area before intercourse and ensure you urinate after intercourse.
  • Try to always make sure you have properly emptied your bladder when urinating.
  • Wear non-synthetic material underwear.
  • Always wipe the area from front to back (rather than the other way around).

If you're concerned that you're showing symptoms of a UTI and want to speak to one of our private GPs, please book one of our UTI video consultations to discuss with a doctor the best treatment.

If you suffer from repeated infections please do book a general GP consultation with one of our privateGPs to discuss options, including referral to urology specialists who can discuss options with you, including a vaccination for UTIs.

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