Urinary Tract Infections, often abbreviated to UTIs, are bacterial infections that affect the bladder, the urethra, and in some cases the kidneys. They’re really common, with nearly half of all women suffering from a UTI at some point in their lives.
Despite being so widespread, UTIs are frequently misunderstood, with a lot of confusing advice and medical misinformation circulating the subject. These popular UTI myths can be a source of anxiety and shame, and can even promise false cures for the condition.
Given just how common and uncomfortable UTIs can be, it’s important to stay informed about the subject for the sake of your own health. So let’s debunk some of these UTI myths and find out how you can really prevent and treat this irritating infection.
What Are The Symptoms Of A UTI?
Before we go any further, we need to know what UTIs look and feel like for sufferers. UTIs can present in different forms, such as:
• Cystitis, an infection of the bladder
• Urethritis, an infection of the urethra
• An infection of the kidneys
The signs and symptoms of a UTI may vary according to the area of infection, and can include:
• A painful burning sensation when urinating
• Discoloured or strong-smelling urine
• The presence of blood in your urine
• Sudden urges to urinate
• More frequent urination
• Pelvic pressure
More serious symptoms that could be indicative of a kidney infection include:
• A very high, feverous temperature
• A very low temperature, below 36C
• Confusion or drowsiness
• Inability to urinate
Persistent pain in the lower stomach, back, and under the ribs
If you’re experiencing a multitude of these symptoms, it’s quite likely that you’re suffering from a UTI and you should seek diagnosis and treatment from a medical professional.
People with UTIs often wonder how they got infected and want to know if they can prevent or cure the infection. Unfortunately, these important questions can sometimes lead them to common sources of misinformation, such as…
Myth: UTIs Are Exclusive To Women
UTIs aren’t exclusive to women, although the origins of this myth are somewhat understandable. After all, it’s true that women are significantly more likely to experience UTIs. But this is simply a difference of frequency, and it doesn’t mean that UTIs are fixed to one gender. In fact, practically anyone can get a UTI, including men – particularly in over 50s, or if you have an enlarged prostate.
So why are women more likely to get UTIs? It really just comes down to anatomy. Generally speaking, women have shorter urethras than men, making it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder. In addition, pregnancy can also increase the risk of getting a UTI.
Myth: UTI Sufferers Have Bad Hygiene
UTIs are already uncomfortable and often painful, so an added layer of embarrassment about the condition is the last thing you want. The truth is that most women are at risk of a UTI, even when practicing a perfectly normal level of hygiene. After all, nearly half the female population is affected at one point or another.
However, there are some recommended hygiene habits you can follow if you’ve experienced, or are concerned about, recurrent UTIs. These could reduce the likelihood of future infection:
• Wiping from front to back when going to the toilet
• Keeping the genital area clean and dry
• Washing your genitals after sex with warm water and mild soap
• Urinating as soon as possible after sex
• Not holding in urine, or rushing urination
• Not wearing overly tight underwear
Myth: UTIs Are Sexually Transmitted Diseases
This can be another source of confusing shame for some, due to the fact that UTIs are often linked to sexual activity. However, by technical definition, UTIs are not sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
It’s true that sex can increase the risk of UTIs, as both penetrative intercourse and oral sex have the capacity to transfer unwanted bacteria into the urethra. UTIs symptoms can also be confused with common STI symptoms – for example, a burning sensation when urinating – but beyond that, there are significant and serious differences between the two types of infections.
Myth: Cranberries Can Cure UTIs
If only this myth were true! It would certainly be a convenient – and tasty – method of treatment. But does it work?
Cranberries do contain acidic ingredients that can alter the Ph of urine and make it more difficult for bacteria to replicate. There are some studies showing some effectiveness when cranberry juice is used as a preventative for UTIs. However, there has never been a conclusive or convincing study to show their effectiveness for treating UTIs when they have already started.
Proper hydration has been shown to protect against UTIs. Drinking frequently encourages urination, flushing out potentially harmful bacteria from the urinary tract. So drinking down glasses of cranberry juice might actually help fight UTIs, but this isn’t necessarily due to any miraculous berry magic – it’s just about getting enough fluids!
Trimethoprim Tablets: The Science-Backed Treatment
If you’ve had enough of the misinformation and just want to find a reliable treatment, then look no further: Trimethoprim Tablets For Cystitis are a 3-day antibiotic course designed to relieve you of UTIs. When taken twice a day over the full course, Trimethoprim tablets kill off the bacterial source of the infection, relieving you from those painful cystitis symptoms.
If you’re looking for a prescription, there’s no better time to make use of online prescription services. e-Surgery offers a range of UK-licensed medication including Trimethoprim Tablets from just £12.50, available for next day delivery in completely discreet packaging.
To be clear, Trimethoprim Tablets should be ordered on hand, not for current infections. They’re great to have just in case, tucked away in a drawer for whenever you need them – or stowed in your luggage for whenever you’re travelling. For more information on Trimethoprim and other UTI treatments, make sure to check out e-Surgery’s FAQs and health hub.