UTIs – Urinary Tract Infection

A bladder infection, or cystitis, is an infection in the urinary tract.  It occurs when bacteria from the bowel or vagina travel to the bladder to cause an infection.

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WHAT IS A BLADDER INFECTION?

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More than 80 % of uncomplicated urinary tract infections such as bladder infection are caused by a bacteria known as Escherichia coli.1 The Escherichia coli that causes the bladder infection is treated by antibiotics, but there are other medications available over-the-counter that can provide relief for the symptoms associated with the bladder infection.2

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

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One of the main symptoms is painful urination2,3 and is typically characterised by a sharp or burning sensation.4 Other symptoms include an increased frequency (meaning you have to go to the loo more often during the day, at night or both) and urgency to urinate (you have an urgent need to void).2,3,4

 

This can occur even when you have little urine to pass.2,3 The urine itself may be dark, cloudy, or pinktinged with an unpleasant odour.2,3

 

Symptoms such as fever, chills and flank pain are signs of a complicated UTI, and require medical attention.2

HOW SERIOUS IS A BLADDER INFECTION?

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Bladder infections very rarely develop into a more serious form, even when untreated.2

WHAT TREATMENTS ARE AVAILABLE?

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A number of antibiotics are available to treat the bacterial infection. Apart from that, the main goal of treatment for a bladder infection is to relieve the symptoms.2

 

Antispasmodic drugs such as flavoxate, and anticholinergic agents such as oxybutynin, are often used to relieve symptoms such as the need to go urgently, or more often. These medicines relieve these symptoms by relieving the spasm in the urinary tract.6,7

WHAT IS THE URINARY TRACT?

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The urinary tract is the body’s drainage system for removing wastes and extra water.3 The urinary tract includes two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder and a urethra.

 

The kidneys filter your blood, removing wastes and extra water. The urine travels from the kidneys down two narrow tubes called ureters. The urine is then stored in the bladder and emptied through the urethra, a tube at the bottom of the bladder.3




  1. Guay DRP. Clinical pharmacokinetics of drugs used to treat urge incontinence. Clin Pharmacokinet 2003; 42(14):1243-1285.
  2. Panesar K. Treating Uncomplicated Cystitis. US Pharmacist 2013;38(8):34-37.
  3. National Institute of Health (NIH). What I need to know about Urinary Tract Infections National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases [Online] 2011 Dec. [cited 18 August 22]; Available from URL: https://www.atkinsonurology.com/Pubs/NIDDK/uti_ez.pdf.
  4. NIH. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Bladder Infection (Urinary Tract Infection – UTI) in Adults [online] 2017 March [cited 18 August 22]; Available from URL: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/bladder-infection-uti-in-adults/all-content.
  5. Imam TH. Bladder Infection (Cystitis). Merck Manual, Consumer Version [online] 2018 July [cited 18 August 22]; Available from URL: https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/kidney-and-urinary-tract-disorders/urinary-tract-infections-uti/bladder-infection.
  6. Hesch K. Agents for treatment of overactive bladder: a therapeutic class review. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent) 2007;20(3):307–314.
  7. Arcaniolo D, Conquy S, Tarcan T. Flavoxate: present and future. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2015;19:719-731. THE URINARY SYSTEM

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