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Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

A urinary tract infection is an infection of your bladder, kidneys or the tubes connected to them.

Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include a sudden need to pee and pain or a burning sensation when peeing.

You can usually treat a urinary tract infection with things like painkillers and drinking plenty of fluids. A GP may prescribe antibiotics.

Urinary tract infections are usually caused by bacteria from poo entering the urinary tract.

Read more on the NHS website.

Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include a sudden need to pee and pain or a burning sensation when peeing.

Check if it's a urinary tract infection (UTI)

Symptoms of a UTI may include:

Children

Children with UTIs may also:

Older, frail people or people with a urinary catheter

In older, frail people, and people with a urinary catheter, symptoms of a UTI may also include:

Read more on the NHS website.

You can usually treat a urinary tract infection with things like painkillers and drinking plenty of fluids. A GP may prescribe antibiotics.

Medical treatments

Your doctor or nurse may offer self-care advice and recommend taking a painkiller.

They may give you a prescription for antibiotics if they think you may need them.

You may be asked to start taking these immediately, or to wait to see if your symptoms improve.

It's important to finish the whole course of antibiotics, even if you start to feel better.

Treatment from a GP for UTIs that keep coming back

If your UTI comes back after treatment, you may have a urine test and be prescribed different antibiotics.

Your doctor or nurse will also offer advice on how to prevent UTIs.

If you keep getting UTIs and regularly need treatment, a GP may give you a repeat prescription for antibiotics.

If you have been through the menopause, you may be offered a vaginal cream containing oestrogen.

Self-care

To help ease pain:

  • take paracetamol up to 4 times a day to reduce pain and a high temperature – for people with a UTI, paracetamol is usually recommended over NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or aspirin
  • you can give children liquid paracetamol
  • rest and drink enough fluids so you pass pale urine regularly during the day, especially during hot weather

It's important to follow the instructions on the packet so you know how much paracetamol you or your child can take, and how often.

It may also help to avoid having sex until you feel better.

You cannot pass a UTI on to your partner, but sex may be uncomfortable.

Taking cystitis sachets or cranberry products has not been shown to help ease symptoms of UTIs.

Read more on the NHS website.

Urinary tract infections are usually caused by bacteria from poo entering the urinary tract.

Read more on the NHS website.