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What is a UTI?

Andrew Bellingham

Andrew Bellingham

Pharmacist | 20+ Years | BPharm | Dip Clin Pharm

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common medical condition that affects millions of people each year. 

The urinary tract plays a crucial role in removing waste and excess fluids from the body. When bacteria enter the urinary tract, they can multiply and lead to an infection. This often happens when bacteria from the digestive tract, such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), find their way into the urinary tract through the urethra.

UTIs can vary in severity, ranging from mild discomfort to serious complications if left untreated. 

Symptoms of UTI

Symptoms of a UTI can vary depending on the severity of the infection, but here’s some common signs you’re suffering from a UTI: 

  • Painful or burning sensation while weeing
  • Constant urge to wee (even when you’ve just been) 
  • Needing to wee more frequently
  • Cloudly or bloody wee
  • Pain in the lower abdomen or back
  • A fever (temperature of 38C or above) 
  • A low temperature below 36C

What causes UTI?

UTIs can be caused by a variety of factors, but are most commonly caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract from the digestive system. 

Here are some reasons this can happen:

  • Having sexual intercourse
  • Being pregnant
  • Having poor personal hygiene
  • Not emptying your bladder fully when weeing
  • Having a weakened immune system due to an underlying condition or treatment (like chemotherapy)

How long does a UTI last?

With appropriate treatment, your symptoms will usually go within a few days to a week. 

However, you should always complete your full course of treatment even if your symptoms are no longer affecting you, as you may still have the underlying infection.

Frequently asked questions about UTIs

What does UTI mean?

A UTI, short for Urinary Tract Infection, is a common bacterial infection that impacts the urinary system, encompassing the kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra.

What is a urinary tract infection?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection that affects the urinary system, causing inflammation and discomfort. They can potentially cause lasting problems if left untreated.

What are the symptoms of a UTI?

Symptoms of a UTI include frequent urination, burning sensation while urinating, and cloudy or strong-smelling urine. 

A lady holds her stomach in pain due to UTI pain brought on by a common cause

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