Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections - prevention and management
Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections (UTI) are a common and troublesome urological complaint. UTIs can occur in any of the urological organs – most commonly in the bladder (cystitis) or kidney (pyelonephritis). In the UK, over half of women will have a UTI at some point, with 7% having two or more UTIs within a year. In men they can occur in the prostate (bacterial prostatitis) and testes (epididymo-orchitis). Overall, UTIs account for over 6 million GP consultations per year. Simple cystitis is bothersome, causing irritating and sometimes debilitating symptoms such as passing urine more often, stinging/offensive urine, pain in the lower abdomen and feeling unwell. More seriously, kidney infections can cause fevers/shaking and significant loin pain.
Recurrent or persistent UTIs are often seen in patients with underlying risk factors or causes, which can include post-menopausal changes, a family history of UTI, diabetes, bladder obstruction (e.g. an enlarged prostate), sexual activity, spermicidal contraceptives and kidney or bladder stones.
Uncomplicated cystitis is treated in the community by the GP, however recurrent or persistent cystitis, cystitis with blood in the urine, kidney infections, prostatitis and epididymo-orchitis are usually investigated and treated by urologists.