UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)

What is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?

Urinary tract infections, often abbreviated as UTIs, are pretty common and can affect individuals of any gender, although they are more prevalent in women.


UTIs typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra, the tube through which urine exits the body during urination, leading to an infection.


UTIs encompass various types of infections, including:


Cystitis: This is an infection of the bladder.

Urethritis: It involves a condition of the urethra.

Pyelonephritis: This type of infection affects the kidneys.

What are the symptoms of a UTI?

There are various symptoms associated with UTIs, but it's unnecessary to experience them all to receive a diagnosis and treatment from a doctor.


Typical symptoms include:


  • Pain or a burning sensation during urination.

  • Increased frequency of urination.

  • Passing small amounts of urine frequently.

  • Feeling like your bladder isn't emptying.

  • Pelvic pain.

  • Elevated body temperature.

  • Strong-smelling urine.

  • Sudden, strong urges to urinate.

  • Cloudy urine.

  • Urine that appears red, brown, or bright pink indicates blood presence.

  • Fatigue, body aches, or a general unwell feeling.

  • Confusion, particularly in elderly individuals.


If you experience pain in the area around your kidneys, along with a high fever, chills, nausea, or vomiting, could indicate a kidney infection. In such cases, it's crucial to consult a doctor promptly, as untreated kidney infections can be hazardous.

UTI symptoms in men

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are relatively rare in men under 50. However, one specific type of UTI called urethritis is more commonly seen in men than women. Therefore, it is crucial to consult a general practitioner if you suspect you have a UTI.


Watch out for these symptoms of UTIs in men:


  • Pain or a burning sensation while urinating.

  • Increased frequency of urination.

  • Lower abdominal pain.

  • Foul-smelling urine.

  • Cloudy urine.

  • Urine that appears red, brown, or bright pink indicates blood presence.

  • You might experience pain in your lower back and sides near the kidneys in kidney infections. Additionally, you may have a high fever, leading to nausea or vomiting.


If you believe you have a UTI, it is advisable to seek medical attention from a doctor.

UTI Symptoms In Children

If you suspect that your child is experiencing a urinary tract infection (UTI), keep an eye out for the typical UTI symptoms, which can include:


  • A burning or painful sensation during urination.

  • Increased frequency of urination.

  • Sudden and urgent need to urinate.

  • Frequent urination with small amounts each time.

  • A feeling of incomplete bladder emptying.

  • Strong-smelling urine.

  • Cloudy urine.

  • Urine that appears red, brown, or bright pink indicates blood presence.

  • Fatigue, body aches, or a general feeling of being unwell.

  • Lower abdominal pain.

  • Elevated body temperature.

  • Bedwetting or accidents in children who are already toilet-trained.

  • Holding in urine due to the pain associated with urination.


In the case of infants, they may exhibit increased irritability, a temperature of 37.5°C or higher, and reduced feeding.


If you suspect your child has a UTI, it's essential to seek medical attention.

Getting a UTI diagnosis

If you suspect you have a urinary tract infection (UTI), it's advisable to seek medical attention from a doctor or visit a sexual health clinic.


The doctor will inquire about your symptoms, including whether you experience discomfort while urinating. It's crucial to answer these questions truthfully to enable the doctor to prescribe the most effective treatment, if necessary.


Everything you discuss during your consultation will be kept strictly confidential.


It is essential to consult a doctor if you fall into any of the following categories:


  • If you are pregnant.

  • If you are male.

  • If you believe your child or an older adult you are caring for may have a UTI.

  • Observing unusual urine colours such as red, brown, or light pink could indicate the presence of blood.

  • If you experience recurrent UTIs despite previous treatments.

  • If you are a woman who frequently suffers from UTIs, mention this to the doctor.


Sometimes, UTIs can lead to severe kidney infections, resulting in permanent kidney damage if left untreated. It's essential to contact a doctor urgently if you:


  • Experience pain around your kidneys in your back, side, or groin area.

  • Have nausea or vomiting.

  • Develop a fever.

How UTIs are treated

After diagnosing your UTI, our doctors can suggest the best action to address it.


Doctors must determine whether the UTI is a one-time or recurring occurrence. The symptoms have come on abruptly and without warning if it's the former. However, if it's the latter, the symptoms come back even after treatment is given.


Antibiotics are usually the go-to for treating urinary tract infections (UTIs). Generally, the infection should resolve after a course of antibiotics lasting for three days.


In certain situations, the doctor might require additional testing to determine the type of bacteria in your urine and prescribe the right antibiotic to eliminate it.


Taking all the antibiotic medication your doctor prescribes is essential for ensuring your infection is completely treated. If you do not finish the course, the infection may not be eradicated, and your symptoms could return.


Individuals who experience recurrent UTIs, males, and pregnant women may be prescribed antibiotics for a longer duration.

Recurring UTIs

If you've had recurrent UTIs, you might have received a particular antibiotic as treatment previously. Nonetheless, it's crucial to remember that bacteria can develop antibiotic resistance over time.


Consequently, there needs to be assurance that the antibiotics prescribed to you previously will work effectively each time.


Our medical professionals may still recommend a urine test to determine if a different strain of bacteria might have caused your infection.

Over-the-counter pain medication

You can use over-the-counter pain relievers like paracetamol to alleviate any discomfort you might be experiencing.


If you have a kidney infection, avoiding NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and aspirin is advisable because they can elevate the risk of kidney issues.


In more severe UTIs, especially if you're a male or a child, you might be referred to a hospital for more comprehensive treatment and additional diagnostic procedures.


If your symptoms return shortly after treatment or fail to improve, you should consult your doctor again for additional guidance.

Things you can do at home to help a UTI

There are several steps you can take to alleviate UTI symptoms during your recovery:


Utilise over-the-counter pain relievers. If it's for a child, use medication specifically designed for children and follow the recommended dosage on the packaging.


  • Get sufficient rest.

  • Stay well-hydrated to help your body flush out the bacteria.

  • Avoid beverages that can irritate your bladder, such as coffee, alcohol, or citrus-based drinks.

  • Use a hot water bottle on your abdomen or back to soothe discomfort.

  • Refrain from sexual activity until you have fully recovered.

Common home remedies that are generally ineffective:


Cranberry juice: Despite its popularity, studies have shown that cranberry juice has a limited impact on treating or preventing UTIs. It may offer a slight benefit but should not be relied upon as a treatment substitute for consulting a doctor.


Baking soda: The concept behind using baking soda is to alter the acidity in your urinary tract to discourage bacterial growth. However, there is no solid evidence supporting its effectiveness.


Apple cider vinegar: Similar to baking soda, apple cider vinegar is used for the same reasons but can potentially worsen a UTI. While you can experiment with it for prevention, it's best to avoid it once the infection has already set in, as the acidity may further irritate the lining of your urinary tract.

Causes of a UTI

UTIs stem from bacterial infections, typically from faecal bacteria, infiltrating your urinary system. These bacteria enter your body through the urethra, the tube through which urine exits when you urinate. Once inside, they can multiply and spread.


In women, the urethra is shorter and positioned close to the anus, making them more susceptible to UTIs. This shorter distance allows bacteria to reach the bladder or kidneys more easily.


Certain factors increase the likelihood of UTIs in individuals, including:


  • Pregnancy

  • Older age

  • Sexual activity, especially with a new partner

  • Use of specific birth control methods, such as a contraceptive diaphragm or spermicidal agents

  • Previous UTIs

  • Conditions that hinder complete bladder emptying, like an enlarged prostate in men or kidney stones

  • Weakened immune system due to conditions like diabetes or treatments like chemotherapy

  • Postmenopausal status

  • Catheter usage

  • Congenital urinary tract abnormalities from birth.


If you are experiencing symptoms, our doctors at Mobi Doctor are available to assist you in managing them. They can provide safe and effective treatment options for your well-being.