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Understanding Urinary Tract Infections

Understanding Urinary Tract Infections

Advisory by Yip Suting, Guardian Pharmacist

What are the symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
The most common symptom of a UTI is having a frequent and intense urge to urinate. Some may also experience pain or a burning sensation during urination. Fevers, pains in the lower back, or foul-smelling, coloured urine may indicate severe infection.

Who are at risk of UTIs?
UTIs happen more frequently in women due to a shorter urethra (the lower urinary tract that drains urine out from the bladder) as bacteria can easily migrate up the urinary tract. Menopausal women are also at a higher risk due to the lack of hormones to maintain good vaginal health. Individuals with diabetes are also more susceptible to having UTIs due to a compromised immune system.

Can I self-treat a UTI?
Mild cases of infection are usually self-limiting. You may take urinary alkalinizers to help with the burning sensation during urination. However, you should see a doctor for more complicated cases of UTI.

So when is a UTI considered "complicated"?
A UTI is considered complicated if it occurs in males or young children. Do consult a doctor immediately as well if you are pregnant, an elderly, or if the UTI is frequent or not clearing up within five to seven days.

What are some tips to help prevent UTIs?
Always clear your bladder as soon as you have the urge to pass out urine. After using the toilet, make sure you clean your pubic area clean by wiping from the front to back. To keep the genital areas dry, wear loose-fitting clothes as well as cotton inner wear instead of synthetics (e.g. nylon).

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