Urinary Tract Infections
Bladder infections can be treated at your pharmacy
Urinary tract infections (UTIs), also known as cystitis or a bladder infection, are a common infection that affects women four times as often as men. Symptoms of a UTI include burning or pain when peeing and needing to pee more often and more urgently.
What causes a UTI?
An infection in your urinary system may be caused by:
- bacteria from your anal area entering your bladder via the urethra - the urethra is shorter in women than in men so it is easier for bacteria to reach the bladder and cause infection
- bacteria introduced when the urethra is pushed on during vaginal sex
- problems in the structure of your kidneys, bladder or tubes
- irritation of the urethra by chemicals (eg, soaps, perfumes, vaginal hygiene sprays)
What are the symptoms of a UTI?
Typical symptoms of a urinary tract infection include:
- pain or burning during or immediately after peeing
- fever, tiredness or shakiness
- an urge to pee more often
- passing small amounts of pee more frequently
- pressure in your lower belly
- urine that smells bad or looks cloudy or reddish
- repeatedly getting out of bed to pee at night.
Fever, pain or ache in your centre back or shaking may indicate that the infection has gone to your kidneys (pyelonephritis). If this happens, see your doctor urgently.
See your doctor if:
- you're a man with symptoms of a UTI
- you're pregnant and have symptoms of a UTI
- your child has symptoms of a UTI
- you're caring for someone elderly who may have a UTI
- you have not had a UTI before
- you have blood in your pee
- your symptoms do not improve within a few days
- your symptoms come back after treatment.
How is a UTI treated?
Antibiotics are recommended for most cases of UTIs.
Usually, a 3 to 5 day course of antibiotics is needed to treat the infection and reduce the risk of it spreading to your kidneys and causing pyelonephritis
Your symptoms should begin to improve within the first 2 days of antibiotics.
You must finish all the antibiotics to get rid of the bacteria. Stopping antibiotics early could cause the infection to return. If your symptoms continue for more than 2 days after starting treatment, or you get worse, see your doctor as soon as possible.
You can get antibiotics for a UTI from your pharmacist without a prescription.
Your pharmacist can sell an antibiotic called trimethoprim for the treatment of UTIs. This is available without a prescription to women aged between 16 to 65 years, who are not pregnant and do not have any other complicating factors.
Bacterial infections of the bladder can make your urine more acidic than normal – which causes the painful and burning sensations you get when passing urine.
Ural Effervescent Powder is a urinary alkaliniser, which works by raising the pH of urine. This makes the urine less acidic which provides effective relief from the pain of cystitis.