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While UTIs may be common it doesn't mean they're welcome, and a recurring infection may affect your day-to-day life. Our experts answer some of the more frequent questions about the condition.

What is the best way to cure a UTI?

Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of

Urinary tract infections are divided into upper and lower. Upper urinary tract infections involving your kidneys should always be treated with antibiotics because they can hold serious complications. Lower UTI cystitis where you get burning, stinging, needing to pass water more often can often be treated just with symptom relief such as drinking fluids, pain killers, a hot water bottle, possibly cranberry capsules or cystitis sachets, while your body fights off the infections.

However if you have a very high fever, you get blood when you pass water, you feel extremely unwell, or you have pain in your loins, you should always see a doctor for antibiotics. 

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Can you cure a UTI without antibiotics?

Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of

Lower UTI, in other words cystitis, which causes inflammation of the bladder with burning and stinging when you wee leading to wee more often, sometimes low tummy pain and a mild fever often doesn’t need antibiotics. Upper urinary tract infections, kidney infections always need antibiotics because they can cause serious complications.

If your symptoms of cystitis don’t settle within two or three days or if you pass blood when you wee, feel very unwell with hot an cold shivering and shaking all over or pain in you loins you will need antibiotics.

How long does it take for a UTI to go away?

Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of

The most common kind of UTI is cystitis or a lower urinary tract infection, an inflammation of your bladder. Sometimes even without antibiotics, the symptoms may settle down on their own as your body fights off the infection within a few days.

However if your symptoms don’t settle within two to three days or if you have a very high fever, if you have blood in your urine, feel extremely unwell, or get pain that goes up to your loins where your kidneys are, you should see a doctor. You may need antibiotics and if you do take those they should start from previous symptoms within 12 to 24 hours.

Can you get a UTI when pregnant?

Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of

You can get a UTI when your pregnant but actually, they’re probably more common and can cause more serious complications when you are pregnant then when you are not. Pregnancy makes a lot of your muscles relax and that in part can reduce the flow of urine allowing more time for germs to multiply inside your bladder or your kidneys.

The pressure of the baby’s head on your bladder can also prevent you from emptying your bladder probably, meaning you got stagnant urine sitting there, again a perfect place for germs to multiply. So if you do get symptoms of cystitis, because there is a real risk of complications including premature labour, it is very important to see a doctor.

Can you get a UTI on your period?

Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of

Sadly, you can get a UTI anytime. UTIs, particularly cystitis, are caused by germs which normally live on the outside of the skin outside the vagina and they can travel up the urethra, the tube that you wee down causing inflammation in your bladder.

In the run up to your period you are often more constipated and that may make it harder to empty your bladder completely, that could in turn lead to stagnant urine, where it is easier for germs to grow. Also theoretically during your period, a tampon could press on your urethra, that’s the tube that the wee comes down, when it comes out of your bladder and that might increase the risk of germs getting up.

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