Why do UTIs occur?
UTIs typically begin when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and start to multiply in the bladder. While the urinary system is designed to keep out such microscopic invaders, these defences sometimes fail, leading to infection. UTIs are more common in women, as the female urethra is shorter, allowing bacteria quicker access to the bladder.
What are the risk factors for UTIs?
There are some factors that make UTIs more likely to occur. They include:
Gender: Women are at higher risk due to a shorter urethra.
Sexual Activity: Sexually active women tend to have more UTIs.
Menopause: Reduced estrogen levels make the urinary tract more vulnerable.
Urinary Retention: Conditions limiting urine flow, like an enlarged prostate, increase the risk.
Catheter Use: People using catheters are more susceptible.
What are some symptoms of UTIs?
Common symptoms associated with UTIs include:
Frequent urge to urinate
Burning sensation during urination
Cloudy or bloody urine
What are the risks if UTIs go untreated?
Leaving a UTI untreated is not only uncomfortable but also risky, as the infection can spread and lead to more severe health issues. Here are some complications that may arise if a UTI is not properly addressed:
Kidney Infections (Pyelonephritis): If a UTI spreads to the kidneys, it can lead to serious health complications and requires immediate medical attention.
Recurrent Infections: Women who experience UTIs are more likely to have them again. Not treating a UTI correctly the first time can make the body more susceptible to future infections.
Sepsis: An untreated UTI can lead to sepsis, a life-threatening complication where the body reacts extremely to infection.
Pregnancy Complications: UTIs can be harmful during pregnancy, potentially affecting the health of both the mother and the child. It might lead to low birth weight or premature birth.
It’s essential to seek professional medical advice at the onset of UTI symptoms to prevent these potential complications. Early treatment can help manage the infection effectively, reducing the risks associated with untreated UTIs. If you think that you might have a UTI, book a bulk-billed online appointment with our team as soon as possible.
What are some treatment options?
Treatment options, guided by our healthcare professionals, mainly revolve around antibiotics to knock out the infection. The choice of medication and the duration of treatment might vary based on the severity of the infection and the type of bacteria causing it.
Antibiotics: Such as nitrofurantoin and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole.
Pain Relief: Medications to alleviate the discomfort and burning sensation during urination.
Fluid Intake: Encouragement to drink plenty of water to help clear the infection.
Ready to consult with an expert?
If you’re experiencing symptoms of a UTI, don’t wait. Phenix Health is here 24/7 to assist you. Book a telehealth consultation with our compassionate, Australian-based healthcare professionals to discuss your symptoms, obtain pathology referrals if appropriate, and get a personalised treatment plan.