Urinary Tract Infection 101

Urinary Tract Infection 101

What is UTI ?

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is an bacterial infection affecting your urinary tract (Bladder, Urethra, Kidney). Most UTIS involve bladder and urethra but some involve the kidneys.

Normal urinary tract is sterile and contains no germs. Our anus and vagina however normally have bacteria growing on them. These bacteria are usually harmless if it stays in the area. UTIs are commonly caused by these bacteria entering the urinary system.


Why are UTIs more common in ladies?

Females are at much higher risk of getting a UTI because the female urethra is located closer to the vagina/anus and is the urethra is much shorter. This means that bacteria can more easily spread into the urinary tract.

This is also why it is so common for ladies to wake up with UTI after sexual intercourse. Motion commonly pushes bacteria around the vagina into the urethra


What are the Symptoms of UTI ?

  • Pain, burning when passing urine
  • Urinary frequency
  • Urinary urgency
  • Lower abdominal pain.
  • Smelly/cloudy/blood in urine

When symptoms are accompanied by fever, shakes, nausea vomiting, pain in the side of the lower back, it could be a sign of more serious Kidney UTI (a.k.a pyelonephritis)

What should I do if I think I have a UTI?

If you are not too sure or if it is your first, please book with your GP at first instance. If you had UTIs before and you are registered with WeCare Health, you could use our E-Consult platform, to receive treatment on the same-day without coming in for a visit, from the comfort of your home. If you have symptoms to suggest Kidney UTI, please contact the GP for appointment same-day or attend After Hours or Emergency Department.


How do you treat UTIs ?

UTIs are very effectively treated with 3-5 days of oral antibiotics. Empirically first line treatment for UTI is Nitrofurantoin (Resistance level 1.3% in NZ community 2018). Trimethoprim may no longer be appropriate first line due to worsening bacterial resistance (Resistance level 26.1%). If you are getting very frequent UTIs or if first line therapy did not work, we may require a urine sample, to choose treatment based on the type of bacteria you have.

If you have symptoms of pyelonephritis, you will need to come in for a face to face appointment and even require an Intravenous Antibiotic treatment. If you are registered with WeCare Health, please contact our reception, and ask for a same-day service as we have access to a funding to provide such treatment at our observation bay, for no extra cost. (Acute Demand Care)

Ural Sachet is an optional medication that we can give to relieve the burning sensation, but this is a symptom reliever and will not treat UTI. Only antibiotics will clear the infection.

What can I do to prevent UTIs ?

  • Urinate after sex – Flush the bacteria out of your urinary tract.
  • Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Urinate when you need to. – Holding your urine allows more time for bacteria to grow,
  • Wipe your bottom from front to back
  • Avoid douching or cleaning with harsh body care products– theory suggests maintaining good vaginal bacterial flora can prevent UTIs.
  • Drink Cranberry juice – some studies showed that daily intake of cranberry juice or tablet can reduce the frequency of UTIs but will not treat UTI once you already have it. If you like drinking them, then why not. (note avoid cranberry if you are on warfarin)

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