Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
What You Need to Know
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common and often painful infection that can affect anyone, but are more common in women. The good news is that there is a new pharmacist-led service in WA that can help you get the treatment you need quickly and easily.
What is a UTI?
A UTI is an infection of any part of the urinary tract, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The most common type of UTI is a bladder infection, also known as cystitis.
What are the symptoms of a UTI?
The symptoms of a UTI can vary depending on the severity of the infection, but they typically include:
- Burning pain or a "scalding" sensation when urinating
- Frequent urination, even if only small amounts of urine are passed
- A feeling of urgency to urinate
- Pain or pressure in the lower abdomen
- Cloudy or bloody urine
- Nausea or vomiting
What causes UTIs?
UTIs are most often caused by bacteria that enter the urinary tract through the urethra. This can happen during sexual activity, or it can happen simply by wiping from back to front after using the toilet. Other risk factors for UTIs include:
- Being female
- Being pregnant
- Having diabetes
- Having a weakened immune system
- Having a history of UTIs
- Using a urinary catheter
How are UTIs treated?
Most UTIs can be treated with antibiotics. The type of antibiotic and the length of treatment will depend on the severity of the infection. In some cases, a doctor may need to be consulted if the infection is severe or does not respond to treatment.
New Pharmacist-Led Service in WA
As of August 2023, pharmacists in WA are able to provide antibiotics to women between the ages of 18 and 65 years for an uncomplicated UTI. This means that you can now see a pharmacist for treatment of a UTI without having to make an appointment with a doctor first.
To qualify for the pharmacist-led service, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must be a woman between the ages of 18 and 65 years.
- You must have an uncomplicated UTI. This means that your symptoms are not severe and you do not have any other health conditions that could complicate the infection.
- You must be able to provide a urine sample for testing.
If you think you may have a UTI, you can book an appointment with a pharmacist at your local pharmacy. The pharmacist will assess your symptoms and ask you about your medical history. They will then take a urine sample to test for bacteria. If the test results are positive, the pharmacist will prescribe antibiotics and provide you with information on how to take them.
The pharmacist-led service is a convenient and effective way to get treatment for an uncomplicated UTI. If you think you may have a UTI, talk to your pharmacist today.
Here are some additional tips to help prevent UTIs:
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water
- Empty your bladder when needed
- Wipe from front to back after using the toilet
- Avoid using bubble baths or scented soaps
- Wear loose-fitting clothing and minimise friction
- Have regular conversations with your pharmacist or doctor
By following these tips, you can help keep UTIs at bay.
Ask your Michael’s Chemist team for more information or to begin a consultation.