What are Urinary Tract Infections?
A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) develops when part of the urinary tract becomes infected. Bacteria are the usual causes of this, which enters the urinary system through the urethra or the bloodstream.
There are two types of UTIs. Cystitis is an infection of the bladder, and an infection of the urethra is called urethritis: together these are known as Lower UTIs. Upper UTIs are infections of the upper part of the urinary tract, including the kidneys and ureters. Upper UTIs can cause kidney damage.
How common are Urinary Tract Infections?
Urinary tract infections are common in women, and at least one British woman in three will have a UTI before the age of 24. At least 50 per cent of all women will suffer from at least one UTI in their lifetime.
In contrast, only one man in every 2,000 will develop a UTI.
What are the symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections?
Symptoms may differ for lower UTIs and upper UTIs. Common symptoms of a lower UTI include burning sensation during urination, a frequent need to urinate, blood in your urine, back pain and lower abdominal pain.
Symptoms of an upper UTI include a high temperature, shivering, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
How are Urinary Tract Infections treated?
Mild UTI infections will resolve within 4 to 5 days and can be treated with antibiotics. Women who experience repeated UTIs may require long-term treatment with antibiotics.
Complications are rare but serious, and include kidney failure and blood poisoning.
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