A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection involving any part of the body’s urinary system – kidneys, bladder or urethra. UTIs are more common, especially in women and the elderly. Bladder infection, also called cystitis, is the most common type of UTI.
Kidneys remove water and waste from the blood to form urine. Ureters carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder where it is stored until it is released from the body through the urethra.
The urinary system and urine are normally sterile but microorganism can enter the urinary tract through the urethra.
UTIs are usually caused by bacteria which normally live harmlessly in the intestines and bowel. If these bacteria spread to the urethra and get into the urinary system they can cause:
· Urethritis – infection in the urethra
· Cystitis – infection in the bladder
· Pyelonephritis – infection in the kidneys
The main symptoms of cystitis are: A prickly scalding or burning sensation when passing urine, the urge to urinate frequently - if only to pass a few drops, cloudy, bloody or smelly urine and sometimes lower abdominal pain.
Urethritis commonly causes burning during urination but usually the urine is not bloody or cloudy.
Pyelonephritis may cause cystitis symptoms, fevers, chills, nausea, vomiting and back pain. A kidney infection is serious and needs prompt attention.
These symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Mild cystitis may be treated by drinking plenty of fluids and taking a urinary alkaliniser ( e.g. Ural ) to make the urine less acidic. Avoid acidy foods and drinks. If these strategies are not successful it is important to seek medical help, as a urinary tract infection often needs to be treated with an antibiotic.
Lockyer Valley Pharmacy can now provide immediate advice and treatment for uncomplicated UTIs. Lockyer Valley Pharmacy can also provide a referral to a general practitioner for further investigation if necessary.