Do I Have A Urine Infection?

Everything you need to know about cystitis…

Running to the toilet constantly? Feel like you’re peeing acid? You could have a urine infection, otherwise known as cystitis. Let’s take a look at the signs and symptoms of cystitis, as well as how to get treatment.

What Is Cystitis?

Cystitis, urine infection or UTI, as it’s also known is an infection of the urinary tract. This means your bladder is infected and that’s where you store your pee. Cystitis is very common, especially in women, and it can range from mild to annoying to more serious. In some cases, cystitis can lead to a more serious kidney infection so it’s important to make sure you seek treatment and advice if you suspect you may have a urine infection.

Signs & Symptoms

Here’s what to look out for:

  • Feeling pain, burning or stinging when you pee
  • Having to pee more often and more urgently
  • Feeling as if you’re not quite finished peeing but nothing is coming out
  • Dark, cloudy or strong-smelling urine
  • Pain in your lower tummy
  • Feeling achy, unwell, sick or tired

What Causes Cystitis?

Cystitis happens when bacteria gets into the urinary tube that carries your pee out of your body – this is called the urethra. This can happen if you wipe from your bottom to your front. Always wipe front to back to avoid any harmful bacteria getting into your vagina or urethra. Other factors that can increase your risk of urine infections are:

  • Having sex – this can make it easy for bad bacteria to make its way into the urethra.
  • Using heavily-scented soaps – this can kill off the good bacteria that fights the bad bacteria.
  • Tights or nylon underwear. This creates a moist, warm environment: AKA the perfect breeding ground for bad bacteria.
  • Not emptying your bladder fully when you go to the toilet.

Treating Cystitis

Cystitis is usually treated with a course of antibiotics. You should start to see an improvement to your symptoms after a day or two but it’s very important you finish the course, even if you do feel completely better. If you don’t finish the pills, the infection could come back again.

It’s also important to make an appointment with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they worsen. Urine infections can lead to kidney infections which are much more serious. The symptoms of a kidney infection are:

  • Pain and discomfort in your side
  • A high temperature
  • Feverish chills and shivers
  • Feeling weak and tired
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Diarrhoea

If you think you have developed a kidney infection, get in touch with your doctor immediately.

Preventing Cystitis

There are a few things you can do to help to prevent getting recurring urine infections. These are:

  • Drinking lots of water to stay well hydrated.
  • Going to the toilet as soon as you need to pee and making sure you fully empty your bladder.
  • Wiping from front to back.
  • Choosing to have a shower rather than a bath.
  • Wearing cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothing rather than leggings and tight skinny jeans
  • Avoiding perfumed soap and body wash.

Common Myths About Urine Infections

We sort the cystitis facts from the fiction!

  • Does Drinking Cranberry Juice Help A Urine Infection?

In a word, no. There’s no medical evidence to show that it makes any difference. Staying hydrated can help to prevent urine infections so drinking cranberry juice (as well as lots of water!) won’t hurt.

  • Only Girls Get Urine Infections

Not true. Although it’s more common in females, males can also get UTIs.

  • Cleaning Your Vagina With Soap Will Stop You Getting A Urine Infection

This is also a myth. Harsh soaps can affect the natural pH balance of your vagina, which could actually make you more at risk of getting a UTI. The inside of your vagina is amazingly self-cleaning – you only need to wash the outer area.

  • You Can Only Get A UTI Through Sex

Also not true. While sex does increase the risk of you getting a UTI, it can also be caused by many other factors.

To read more about physical health, click here.

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