Help! I think I have a UTI ...

Hi there! My name is Dr Sumeena Qidwai and I’m one of the Clinical Experts at Medinet.

Having a UTI? Do you want to get rid of it as quick as possible?

Before we dive into solutions, let’s understand what it is and why it happens.

UTI stands for Urinary Tract Infection. It is an infection in any part of the urinary tract in men or women ie the kidneys or bladder, and can affect anyone at any time in their lives.

UTIs are more common in young women who are sexually active, as well as men who have sex with other men. At least 60% of women will have a UTI at some point in their lives. UTIs are more common in women as they have a shorter urinary tract than men (urethra).

The bacteria that cause a UTI arise from the skin or gut, and can enter the urethra (urinary tract) through sex or other forms of friction. UTIs can also occur in children with structural or anatomical issues with their urinary tract.

I often get asked…what are the symptoms of a UTI? Symptoms can range from no symptoms at all, to full-blown symptoms such as:

  • Urge to go to the toilet very frequently
  • Burning when passing urine
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Fever

Some people get some of these symptoms, and others get minimal or no symptoms at all!

A doctor can detect if you have a UTI by doing a simple “dipstick” test on your urine in their clinic. Often this urine test is also sent to a lab to check which type of bacteria is causing the infection, and whether the antibiotic which you have been prescribed will work for that particular bug.

Don’t worry, because UTIs are quite easy to treat. Sometimes UTIs can simply go away on their own with some home treatment.

If you want to try and get on top of your UTI fast, a 24-hour quick fix can be as simple as drinking plenty of water and taking the day off work/ uni to flush the bacteria out of your bladder. Drinking cranberry juice, taking garlic extract, probiotics, and taking vitamin C have all shown to be useful in treating UTIs and you can definitely try this at home!

However, if your symptoms don’t improve within 24 hours, you’ll need to see a doctor for antibiotics.

Treatment courses are different for men and women, so please speak to one of our doctors on Medinet for further information about antibiotics for UTIs and treatment duration, as well as other treatments that can reduce your symptoms and discomfort.

There are some simple measures that I discuss with patients to reduce the frequency of UTIs.

One of the most important things you can do to prevent a UTI is to drink at least 2L water a day and go to the bathroom at least every 2-3 hours so that bacteria doesn’t have time to get to your bladder. Additionally, it is important to pass urine after having sex to flush out any bacteria that might be waiting to cause an infection. Practice good hygiene, like wiping from front to back or washing with warm water after passing stools. Lastly, there is some evidence that cranberry products can reduce the frequency of UTIs, and so daily cranberry juice may also be of benefit.

Occasionally some adults and children can suffer from “recurrent UTIs” which means they occur very frequently. If UTIs are happening very frequently you may need further testing to check for an underlying condition that could be the cause. Additionally there is medication that can help prevent UTIs if they occur very often. Please talk to one of our Medinet doctors for further information.

Lastly, please remember that your symptoms may not be caused by a UTI and could be a result of other conditions such as sexually transmitted infections, or other things.

The key message is to always talk to your doctor to get further advice and treatment!

All the best, and stay healthy,

Dr Sumeena Qidwai - Clinical Expert at Medinet Australia
Rhodes MyHealth Medical Centre
BSc(Med) MBBS FRACGP