Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Treatment

If you are female, aged 16-64 years old, and suspect that you have a UTI, visit your local Day Lewis Pharmacy today. Since the introduction of the NHS Pharmacy First Service, we are able to help without the need for you to book a GP appointment first. Our pharmacists can recommend UTI treatments over-the-counter, as well as prescription-strength medicines to help relieve your symptoms.

If you are male, pregnant or have a child displaying the symptoms of a UTI, you should visit your GP straight away.

What is a UTI?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection usually caused by bacteria from faeces (your poo) entering the urinary tract. The bacteria enter through the tube (urethra) that carries urine out of the body.

Women have a higher chance of developing UTIs as they have a shorter urethra than men, so bacteria are more likely to reach the bladder or kidneys to cause an infection.

What are the symptoms of a UTI?

UTIs can cause a variety of symptoms, which can range from mild to severe. The most common symptoms of a UTI can include:

  • Frequent urination – if you have a UTI, you may feel the urgency to pass urine more frequently than normal, especially at night.
  • Painful urination – this often feels like a burning or stinging sensation during urination.
  • Lower abdominal discomfort or back pain – people with a UTI may experience a persistent, dull ache or pressure in the lower abdomen or pelvis, or back pain, particularly if the infection has reached the kidneys.
  • Cloudy or bloody urine – your urine may appear cloudy, dark, bloody or have a strong odour. This is due to the presence of blood, pus, or bacteria in the urinary tract.
  • Fever – if the infection has progressed to the kidneys, it may result in fever or chills.
  • Incontinence or bed wetting – this is especially common in the elderly and children.
  • Change in mental state – this is mostly affects elderly individuals. UTIs can sometimes cause confusion or changes in mental awareness.

If you have the more severe symptoms indicative of a kidney infection, such as a high or very low temperature, pain in your sides or back, confusion or agitation or you are feeling or being sick, you should seek help from your GP or urgent care without delay. If left untreated, UTIs can damage your kidneys or lead to sepsis, an infection of the blood.

What causes a UTI?

A UTI occurs when bacteria, typically E.coli, enter the urinary tract and multiply. There are various factors and behaviours that can increase the risk of developing a UTI.

The most common causes of urinary tract infections (UTI) are:

  • Sexual activity

Sexual activity can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract. Women are more susceptible to UTIs after sexual intercourse.

  • Incomplete emptying of the bladder

If the bladder is not fully emptied, it can create an environment for bacteria to multiply.

  • Urinary catheters

Urinary catheters can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract, increasing your chances of infection.

  • Obstructions

Anything that obstructs the flow of urine can increase the risk of developing a UTI. This may include conditions like kidney stones.

  • Diabetes

People with diabetes are more prone to UTIs, as high blood sugar levels can promote the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract.

  • Age and gender

Women are more likely to develop UTIs than men because the urethra in women is short and closer to the anus. As we get older, the lining of the urethra becomes less able to resist infection and risks of UTI increase in men due to prostate enlargement which may cause incomplete bladder emptying.

  • Pregnancy

Changes in the urinary tract during pregnancy can increase the risk of developing a UTI.

  • Menopause

Hormonal changes during menopause can affect the urinary tract lining, making it more susceptible to infections.

How to prevent UTIs

There are a few things you can do to prevent a UTI from developing, and prevent the infection from returning.

  • Wipe from front to back when going to the toilet
  • Keep your genitals clean and dry
  • Drink lots of fluids, especially water
  • Clean the skin around the vagina with water before and after sex
  • Go to the toilet after sex
  • Always change nappies or incontinence pads if they are soiled
  • Avoid using scented soap
  • Avoid holding your urine in – go when you have the urge
  • Do not wear tight underwear made from synthetic materials, such as nylon
  • Do not drink large volumes of alcohol
  • Do not have large amounts of sugary food or drinks

How to treat a UTI

You may be able to relieve the discomfort of a UTI by taking over-the-counter painkillers, like paracetamol, and making sure you drink plenty of water.

However, a UTI is usually treated with a short course of antibiotics. The majority of women with a UTI will be given a three-day course of antibiotic tablets, and you can expect your symptoms to pass within three to five days of starting the treatment.

The good news is, you don’t necessarily need to book an appointment with your GP to access this type of medication. As part of the NHS Pharmacy First Service, Day Lewis pharmacies are now able to provide both prescription-strength and over-the-counter medication for UTIs. This means that you’re able to get the treatment you need more quickly so that you’re able to feel better sooner.

Why visit your local Day Lewis Pharmacy to treat a urinary tract infection?

There are lots of reasons why you should visit Day Lewis Pharmacy to treat a UTI, such as:

We’re accessible

With over 260 pharmacies throughout the UK, accessing your nearest Day Lewis Pharmacy is quick and easy. We are never more than a short drive or walk away, meaning you can pop in without an appointment, to speak to our team whenever it suits you best.

We offer a wide range of UTI treatment options

Now that we provide the NHS Pharmacy First Service, we are able to offer women a wider range of prescription and over-the-counter medicine for UTI symptoms. This includes antibiotics, where clinically appropriate.

We provide advice you can trust

Our pharmacists are highly trained with an in-depth knowledge of UTIs in women and the treatment options available, including over-the-counter treatments for UTIs. A member of our team will assess your symptoms and give you personalised guidance you can trust.

We offer preventative care

Our pharmacists are not only here to help when you’re already in pain. They can also offer advice on how to reduce the chance of experiencing UTIs if they are a recurrent problem.

If you are female and showing symptoms of a UTI, then pop into your local Day Lewis Pharmacy today or book online to find out how we can help you.

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