What you should know about UTIs

Ever heard of a UTI? Know what it stands for? We’ve probably all heard the term at some point, but we might not understand what it actually means. To keep it simple, UTI stands for Urinary Tract Infection and it’s a bacterial infection, more commonly e-coli. 

There are 3 main areas that a UTI can affect; the bladder, the urethra and the kidneys. For some of you this might be TMI so if you are a bit queasy then skip to the next paragraph now … Ready? A UTI happens when bacteria enters our urinary tract and travels up the tube that allows us to pee (our urethra), eventually reaching the bladder or kidneys leading to an infection. Sometimes, if we wipe from back to front, then the bacteria from our butt (yep, gross) is spread to our urethra and BANG, infection! And as with everything, us gals got the short straw when it comes to our urethra as ours is shorter than men. Why is this important? Well, the bacteria we mentioned has less distance to travel in women before it reaches the bladder or kidneys (which leads to the infection). Oh no, that’s not all, women’s urethra and rectum (bum hole, lol) are relatively close together which is why UTI’s tend to be associated with women. I know, men really have no idea how lucky they are.

It's important to know that if you have a UTI more than twice in six months then it is called a recurrent UTI. As always, speak to your GP as they are the best person to help you.

 What you should know about UTIs - Riley Blog

How will I know if I have a UTI?:

There are some common symptoms when it comes to UTI’s:

  • Burning or pain when peeing
  • Cloudy or smelly pee
  • Blood in your pee
  • Suddenly needing to pee or peeing more than what is normal for you

Okay enough of the scary talk, how do I treat it?

A UTI is considered mild and treatable if it’s in the bladder and doesn’t go any further. These UTI’s will usually pass after a few days, nothing paracetamol, a hot water bottle and a bottle of flat 7Up won’t fix! No seriously, as with any infection, if we can flush it out we will, so plenty of fluids guys.

If the UTI moves into the kidneys, this is when you need an antibiotic prescribed by a GP. Your GP will decide the length of time you’ll be on the antibiotic and if you have recurrent UTI’s then your GP might give you a repeat prescription. Whatever you do, even if you feel better after a day or two, you need to finish the course of antibiotic’s you were prescribed. Not finishing your course of treatment can lead to the UTI not clearing fully and returning at a later date, and we definitely do not want that. If your symptoms are severe, you might be referred to hospital but this is more likely for men and children. 

Some people may take antibiotics as a preventative measure but this has a chance of causing recurrent UTI’s as overusing antibiotics disrupts our gut health. Even when we think we’re doing right, we’re doing wrong ehh?!

Can I prevent a UTI?:

The number one bit of advice we can give you to prevent a UTI, is to pee straight after sex. Yep, we know the cuddles are great and you want to lie in the euphoria of your orgasm, but it is super important to pee as soon as you can after sex! Honestly, we cannot say this enough!

Other things to do to try to prevent a UTI are:

  • Drink plenty of fluids- we told you, flat 7Up for the win!
  • Wear loose cotton knickers
  • Wipe from front to back when going to the toilet 
  • Take showers instead of baths- honestly, thinking of the logic behind this makes me feel a lil sick - there’s nothing like a good bath
  • Completely drain your bladder when you go to the toilet - there shouldn’t be a drop of pee left 

There isn’t much left unsaid here. Some key take away’s; wipe front to back, pee after sex, if worried always go to your GP. Until next time guys… 

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