Say goodbye, UTI, with our helpful hints
A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is an infection in any part of your urinary system. They’re super-common, and treatable with antibiotics, but can leave you feeling poorly and very uncomfortable.
Here’s how to spot if you have one, what to do if you get one, and how to – hopefully – avoid ever having another one again!
You’ll know if you have a UTI because:
*you’ll feel the need to wee much more often than usual
*you’ll feel sudden urges to wee – as in, right now
*you may feel pain or a burning sensation when you wee
*urine may look cloudy, and smell unpleasant
*blood may be visible in your urine
*you’ll feel generally tired and unwell, often with pain in your lower tummy
*older people may feel extremely confused, or agitated.
See your GP if:
*you haven’t had a UTI before
*you have blood in your urine
*your symptoms don’t improve in a few days, or are getting worse.
And see your GP urgently if you also:
*have pain in your sides or lower back
*feel or are sick
*feel hot and shivery.
These may indicate a kidney infection, which needs immediate attention.
In the meantime:
*paracetamol can help
*keep your fluid intake up – stay hydrated
*get plenty of rest
*a hot water bottle on your tummy or back may ease discomfort
*incontinence pads and pants are available for reassurance.
You can help avoid the likelihood of another infection by:
*taking showers instead of baths
*wearing loose cotton underwear
*drinking plenty of fluids
*emptying your bladder fully and regularly
*cleaning from front to back when you go to the loo
*avoiding highly perfumed bubble bath, soap or talcum.
*hold on when you need to go
*wear tight or synthetic undies
*wear tight jeans or trousers
*use highly-perfumed bubble baths and soaps.
Does cranberry juice help?
Some GPs recommend trying cranberry tablets or juice. Cranberries are crammed with vitamins and nutrients. They also contain an active ingredient which interferes with bacteria’s ability to cling to the bladder wall, reducing the likelihood of infection.
It’s unclear how helpful cranberries are in reducing infection, but if you have recurring UTIs, they could be worth a try. Check with your GP first, especially if you take any other medication.
If you’re not overly keen on the taste of cranberry juice, try a mix such as cranberry and raspberry.
Although stress itself doesn’t cause UTIs, being run down can make you more prone to infections. Look after yourself, especially with winter on the way.