If you suspect you might have a urinary tract infection, don’t hesitate – organise a UTI test online today. Instant Consult allows you to video call with a registered doctor and receive treatment immediately.

Urinary tract infections are one of the most common bacterial infections worldwide. Around 50-60% of women and 12% of men will experience the condition at least once in their lifetime.

Urinary tract infections can be distressing and painful; it is common to experience symptoms such as burning when passing urine and an increased need to urinate.

A UTI test can help you determine whether you’re suffering from a urinary tract infection or something else. Antibiotics and urinary alkalisers can be prescribed to help treat the condition.

What is a urinary tract infection?

A urinary tract infection is a bacterial infection that affects the urinary system – i.e. the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. The infection may be located in any or all of these organs. A UTI test can assess whether you’re experience a urinary tract infection or another condition.

Common symptoms include:

  • Burning sensation and/or lower abdominal pain when passing urine
  • Passing small amounts of urine frequently
  • Cloudy, dark or red urine
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Feeling the urge to urinate but not being able to, or only able to pass a few drops

Symptoms of a kidney infection include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Kidney infections in general and urinary tract infections in children should be taken seriously and treated promptly.

Urinary tract infections are not contagious, so if your UTI test results come back positive there is no need to abstain from school, work or sexual intercourse.

What causes it?

The major cause of this condition is the E. coli bacteria which are typically spread to the urethra from the anus. The urinary system is structured in a way that prevents urine from going up from the bladder to the kidneys, which means most urinary tract infections are located in the bladder (and aren’t too serious). If the infection goes untreated, however, it could travel up to the kidneys and cause a more serious infection. Organising a UTI test online as soon as possible can help prevent this from happening.

Risk factors

The following are considered to be risk factors for developing a urinary tract infection. If you suspect that you may be experiencing the infection, talk to our doctors about a UTI test online.

Female anatomy

Females have shorter urethras than males, which means that the distance that bacteria have to travel to reach the bladder is shorter. This makes it more likely that females will experience the condition than males.

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Sexual activity

Sexually active women often experience more urinary tract infections than those who are not sexually active, as sexual intercourse can help spread bacteria to the urethra.

Menopause

The decline in levels of estrogen associated with menopause causes changes in the body that can make women more vulnerable to urinary tract infections.

Urinary tract abnormalities

People born with urinary tract abnormalities may be at a greater risk for experiencing the infection. Additionally, blockages such as kidney stones and enlarged prostates can potentially trap urine in the bladder, increasing infection risk.

Diagnosis

Doctors may diagnose a urinary tract infection based on reported symptoms. They may also perform a UTI test (urine analysis) or physical examination.

Treatment

Urinary tract infections are most commonly treated with antibiotics. It is important that the full course of the antibiotics is taken, even after symptoms have passed, in order to prevent recurrence. Urinary alkalisers can be used to alleviate some of the symptoms of the infection, such as pain and frequency of urination.

Prevention

Some of the ways you can prevent a urinary tract infection include:

  • Drinking plenty of water (this helps flush out the urinary system)
  • Wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria travelling from the anus to urethra
  • Shower before and after sexual intercourse
  • Urinate after sexual intercourse
  • Use vaginal oestrogen tablets, pessaries or cream (if postmenopausal)
  • Wear cotton underwear and loose clothing to keep the area dry

How can Instant Consult help you?

If you suspect you have a urinary tract infection, you can speak to one of Instant Consult’s doctors over a video call and organise a UTI test online!

Our doctors are available day and night, 7 days a week, and can help you to diagnose and deal with your UTI quickly and easily – and you can speak to them online! If you need a prescription to help recover, they can send the script straight to your pharmacy as well, so that you can pick up the medicine immediately after your consult.

The Instant Consult app is free to download from the Google Play or Apple iOS storefronts and it takes less than a minute to sign up.