UTI: Everything You Need To Know

Written by Priyanka Agarwal, Writer at Hola Health
Medically Reviewed by Dr Nelson Lau, MBBS FRACGP, GP & Digital Health Specialist

A UTI, or urinary tract infection, is typically a bacterial infection that can impact any part of the urinary tract, including the bladder, ureters, urethra, and kidneys. In men,  the prostate can also be involved. It is a common infection more prevalent in women. It is estimated to affect one in two Australian women and one in 20 men in their lifetime. Here is everything you want to know about UTI.

Connect with our doctor within 15 mins

What causes UTI in women?

Several factors contribute to women’s increased risk of UTIs. Here are some of the most common:

  1. Women are more prone to get UTIs because their shorter urethras make it easier for bacteria to access the bladder compared with men.
  2. Escherichia coli (E.coli) is a bacteria that is found in the digestive system and is a frequent cause of UTIs because it can easily get into the urethra while wiping from back to front after using the toilet, or if proper hygiene is not maintained.
  3. Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy or menopause can also escalate the risk of UTIs.
  4. Sexual intercourse can also cause the bacteria to get inside the urinary tract, aggravating the risk of infection.
  5. Kidney stones or anatomical abnormalities in the urinary tract can also increase infections. 
  6. Contraceptives such as diaphragms or using spermicides also increase the possibility of getting UTIs.
  7. Urinary catheters can also introduce bacteria into the urinary tract. It is a thin tube that is inserted through the urethra into the bladder. It is used to drain urine when you are not able to urinate on your own.

What are the symptoms of UTI?

If you are suffering from UTI, you may have the following symptoms:

  1. Pain or burning sensation while urinating.
  2. A frequent urge to urinate.
  3. Discomfort in the pelvic area or abdominal ache.
  4. Strong smelling urine.
  5. Fever.
  6. Nausea or vomiting.
  7. Cloudy urine.
  8. Blood in urine.
  9. Feel tired or weak.
  10. Dizzyness.

How is a UTI diagnosed?

A urinary tract infection is usually diagnosed through urinalysis and urine culture. Urinalysis investigates a urine sample for symptoms of infection or bacteria. In some cases, a urine culture is done to confirm the specific bacteria that is causing the infection and determine the best possible treatment.

How to treat a UTI?

UTIs are typically treated with antibiotics provided by a doctor and it is extremely important to complete the full course of antibiotics to make sure that the infection is eliminated. Additionally, drink plenty of water to flush out the bacteria from the urinary tract.

What are the hygienic measures that prevent infection?

Make note of the following things to prevent a UTI:

1. Drink a lot of water to flush out the bacteria from the urinary tract.

2.  Avoid holding in your urine for prolonged periods and make sure that you empty your bladder when urinating.

3. Wipe your genital area from front to back after using the toilet.

4. Be sure to urinate after intercourse.

5. Refrain from using harsh soaps or hygiene sprays in the genital area. 

6. Wear light cotton underwear which allows air to circulate and keeps your genital area clean and dry.

7. Make sure you change your diapers, pads, or tampons as soon as they are soiled.

8. Always maintain proper hygiene.

Do men get UTIs?

Yes, men can get a urinary tract infection although they are more prevalent in women. UTIs in men generally occur due to an enlarged prostate, kidney stones, or a weak immune system. If the prostate is enlarged, it can block the flow of urine from the bladder. This blockage may help the bacteria to grow and cause an infection.

What can happen if a UTI is not treated?

If a UTI is not treated, the infection can spread to the kidneys and may eventually lead to kidney damage. Untreated UTIs can potentially spread beyond the urinary tract and lead to serious infections resulting in bacteraemia or sepsis.

Is UTI contagious?

Urinary tract infections are not contagious. They are bacterial infections that are usually caused when the bacteria enter the urinary tract. These bacteria usually come from our digestive system. However, in some cases, some infections that are prone to lead to UTIs can be transmitted through sexual activities.

How long does a UTI last?

In the absence of medications, UTIs (especially in mild instances) may resolve on their own in a matter of days. However, if you do not take antibiotics, your symptoms could occasionally persist for about a week. If you have been prescribed medications, an acute case of UTI can heal in about three to seven days while a complicated case of UTI can take up to fourteen days.

Can you have sex while suffering from a UTI?

While there is no safe way to engage in sexual activities with a UTI and it may feel uncomfortable,  it is advisable to ensure safety during intercourse to lower your risk of getting one again. For example, you can make sure to urinate before and after intercourse and clean thoroughly after sex.

What does a UTI feel like?

Anyone who has had a UTI will describe it as uncomfortable and annoying. No doubt, some of the UTI symptoms can tend to cause discomfort. You may experience a burning sensation while peeing and a frequent urge to urinate. For men, UTI can feel like a pain in the rectum.

Why do I keep getting UTIs?

Recurrent UTIs are defined as experiencing 2 or more infections in 6 months, or 3 or more in a year. You can get diagnosed with UTIs repeatedly because of inadequate hygiene, sexual activity, or conditions that weaken the immune system.

When to consult a doctor?

You might still be wondering how to get rid of a UTI. If the symptoms persist for more than 2 days, it becomes important to seek professional help. If you are pregnant or notice blood in your urine, you should consult a doctor immediately. It is always advisable to stay on the safe side and get yourself treated if you experience any of the symptoms of UTI such as nausea and discomfort in the pelvic or abdominal area.

See a GP within 15 minutes anytime, day or night

Related Articles

When To Worry About Flu In A Child?

When To Worry About Flu In A Child? Written by Priyanka Agarwal, Writer at Hola Health Medically Reviewed by Dr Nelson Lau – MBBS FRACGP, GP...

Natural Home Remedies for Strep Throat: Doctor-Approved

Natural Home Remedies for Strep Throat: Doctor-Approved Written by Dr Nelson Lau – MBBS FRACGP, GP & Digital Health Specialist Strep throat...

UTI: Everything You Need To Know

UTI: Everything You Need To Know Written by Priyanka Agarwal, Writer at Hola Health Medically Reviewed by Dr Nelson Lau, MBBS FRACGP, GP &...

Can A UTI Go Away On Its Own

Can a UTI Go Away On Its Own? Written by Priyanka Agarwal, Writer at Hola Health Medically Reviewed by Dr Nelson Lau, MBBS FRACGP, GP & Digital...

Natural Home Remedies For Sore Throat Doctor-Approved

Natural Home Remedies for Sore Throat: Doctor-Approved Written by Dr Nelson Lau – MBBS FRACGP, GP & Digital Health Specialist What Causes a...

Viral Chest Infection Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Viral Chest Infection Symptoms, Causes, Treatment Written by Dr Nelson Lau – MBBS FRACGP, GP & Digital Health Specialist Chest Infections :...

Why Didn’t My Doctor Prescribe Antibiotics?

Why Didn’t My Doctor Prescribe Antibiotics? Medically reviewed by Dr Nelson Lau MBBS FRACGP, General Practitioner and Digital Health Specialist Coughs...

Ear Infections in Babies and Children

Ear Infections in Babies and Children Written by Sai Pragna Chagarla, Staff Writer – Hola Health Medically reviewed by Dr Nelson Lau , MBBS FRACGP...

Urinary Tract Infections: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

Urinary Tract Infections: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment Written by Sai Pragna Chagarla, Staff Writer – Hola Health Medically reviewed by Dr. Nelson...

Disclaimer

This content is created for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. For emergencies please immediately contact 000.