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Signs of a urinary tract infection often ‘confused’ with STIs

Why sex is the most common cause of urinary tract infection

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UTIs are fairly common, usually affecting one in five women at least once in their lifetime. They normally occur when bacteria from faeces travels up the urethra, sometimes reaching the bladder or kidneys. As with all medical conditions it is best to spot the symptoms as soon as possible in order to seek treatment.

According to online pharmacy Chemist4U, many people can confuse the symptoms with those of an STI.

A spokesperson told “Urinary tract infections (UTI) can affect any part of your urinary tract – that includes your bladder, urethra and kidneys.

“Symptoms of UTIs can range from mildly uncomfortable to very painful and women are much more likely to be affected than men.”

They shared five symptoms of a UTI related to urinating.

These are:

  • Pain or a burning sensation when urinating
  • Needing to urinate more often than usual during the night
  • Urine that looks cloudy
  • Needing to urinate suddenly or more urgently than usual
  • Blood in your urine.

However, there are other symptoms, which can include:

  • Lower tummy pain or pain in your back, just under the ribs
  • A high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
  • A very low temperature below 36C.

The NHS advises that you see a GP if you notice any of these symptoms for the first time or if symptoms come back after treatment.

In comparison STIs are infections passed on through sexual contact.

“There are many types of STI and STD, and they’re more common than you’d realise,” Chemist4U said.

“According to the World Health Organisation, more than one million STIs are acquired every day worldwide.”

For women symptoms of an STI can include:

  • Unusual discharge
  • Lumps
  • Skin growths
  • Pain when peeing
  • A rash
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding
  • Itchy genitals or anus
  • Warts and blisters.

The spokesperson explained: “It should be pointed out that STIs often don’t present any symptoms at all and they can go completely unnoticed, which is why it’s so important to get tested before engaging in any sexual contact with a new partner.

“The main difference is that UTIs are not sexually transmitted.

“Having sex can result in a UTI, but this doesn’t mean the infection is spread from person to person through sexual contact.

“STIs, on the other hand, are spread through unprotected sexual contact with an infected person.”

If a GP suspects you have a UTI they may test your urine.

They might also prescribe painkillers and/or antibiotics.

There are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of getting a UTI.

These include:

  • Wiping from front to back when you go to the toilet
  • Keeping the genital area clean and dry
  • Drinking plenty of fluids, particularly water – so that you regularly urinate during the day and do not feel thirsty
  • Washing the skin around the vagina with water before and after sex
  • Urinating as soon as possible after sex
  • Promptly changing nappies or incontinence pads if they’re soiled.

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