Common ailments

Urinary tract infection

Doctor, it hurts to pee. I have urges to go all the time but I can only ever pass a tiny bit at once. What’s wrong with me?

These could be symptoms of a urinary tract infection. This is very common and in most cases usually goes away after a few days but it’s best to seek immediate medical help to be on the safe side.

A doctor will take a urine sample from you and test it for any germs. If the infection is not treated right away it can sometimes lead to complications. Occasionally the infection can spread to the kidneys and cause permanent damage.

If you are a woman aged 18 to 65 and are not pregnant then your local pharmacist will be able to provide treatment through the Pharmacy First Minor Ailment Scheme.

A urinary tract infection is most commonly caused by bacteria, which can enter the urinary tract through the urethra (the tube you pee through) or, more rarely, through the bloodstream. Emptying your bladder after sex, wiping from front to back after going to the toilet, avoiding constipation and drinking cranberry juice are all thought to reduce your risk of developing a urinary tract infection.

Antibiotics can be very effective in treating urinary tract infections but they are not always necessary. If you are prescribed antibiotics it is vital to stick to the instructions given by your doctor. Stopping half way through the course or when you feel better often means the bacteria are not completely wiped out. When this happens, the ones that remain develop immunity against the drug and become ‘super bugs’. These ‘super bugs’ are a global threat at the moment as they become increasingly resistant to new drugs.

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