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Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

This page explains the symptoms and treatment for urinary tract infections.

WHAT IS IT?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is when bacteria grow in your urinary tract and cause an infection.

This can affect:

  • your bladder. This is called cystitis, and is the most common type of UTI.
  • your urethra (where your wee comes out). This is called urethritis.
  • Your kidneys. This is called pyelonephritis and is more serious.

HOW DO YOU GET A UTI?

The most common way you can get a UTI is when bacteria from around your anus get into the urethra and bladder, and causes inflammation.

This is most likely to happen when wiping after going to the toilet or after having sex. 

Anyone can get a UTI, but females are more at risk because of the way their body is set up with the urethra close to the anus.

Other factors that can increase your risk of getting an UTI include:

  • Not emptying your bladder properly
  • Being pregnant

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

The symptoms of a UTI include:

  • Pain or burning when you wee
  • You need to wee often or urgently
  • Pain in your tummy, back or side

These symptoms can be the same as some STIs such as chlamydia.

HOW IS IT TREATED?

A UTI is treated with antibiotics, and it will usually clear up within a few days.

You should also drink lots of water. You might also like to use pain killers or urine alkalisers, such as Ural or Citravescent.

Don’t ignore a UTI, as untreated infections can lead to more serious problems with your kidneys.

If you think you may have a UTI, make an appointment at Family Planning or with your doctor.

HOW WILL IT IMPACT MY PARTNER/S?

Partners do not need treatment when you have a UTI, but they will need treatment if the symptoms turn out to be caused by an STI.

HOW CAN I PREVENT UTIs?

Here are some ways you can prevent UTIs:

  • Drink lots of water
  • Wee before, and right after having sex
  • Wipe from your front (urethra, where your wee comes from) backwards to your bottom when going to the toilet.
  • Don’t use feminine hygiene products such as sprays, deodorants or douches in the genital area

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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