What are Urinary Tract Infections?


Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are infections of any part of the urinary tract. In more than 80% of cases, they are caused by the overgrowth of the bacteria Escherichia coli (E.coli) originating from the digestive system or vagina, or more rarely the bloodstream. Infections from the digestive system are more common as the pathogenic bacteria that colonize in the gut are able to move easily from the anus to the urethra. Probably, for this reason, women are significantly more likely to experience UTI’s than men. Nearly 1 in 3 women will have had at least 1 episode of UTI requiring antimicrobial therapy by the age of 24 years. Almost half of all women will experience 1 UTI during their lifetime.


What are the common symptoms to look out for?

  • Frequent or urgent need to urinate
  • Frequent need to urinate at night
  • Pain/burning sensation while urinating
  • Cloudy or unpleasant smelling urine
  • Pus in the urine
  • More serious upper UTIs could cause nausea, fever, lower back pain and confusion and require medical attention

What lifestyle factors could be suggested to clients?

  • Drink 3 liters of water a day during an acute attack and 2-3 liters thereafter (to help flush the bacteria from the bladder)
  • Avoid retaining urine for long periods of time
  • Avoid sexual intercourse until infection has cleared
  • Wash before and after intimacy and urinate immediately after sexual intercourse
  • Keep the genital area clean and wipe from front to back
  • Some suggest wearing cotton underwear, avoid tight fitting trousers, perfumed soaps, vaginal deodorants, feminine wipes and tampons