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UTIs - Symptoms, Preventing, Testing and Treating

General Symptoms

  • Offensive/strong smelling urine

  • Cloudy urine

  • Temperature

  • General malaise

  • Fever

  • Rigors (i.e a chill, usually with shivering, as at the onset of high fever and chills)

  • Blood in urine

  • Pain in kidney/s

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Muscle aches and abdominal pain

  • Some people, particularly those who can still pass urine urethrally, may experience a burning sensation and a desire to pass urine often with urgency and frequency


  • Drink 1.5 to 2 litres (3 to 4 pints) each day to avoid becoming dehydrated. Alcohol and caffeine tend to be dehydrating so do not include them in your daily volume.

  • Catheterise regularly, making sure the bladder is as empty as possible afterwards. A good trick for this is to think of a straw being removed from a drink – if you leave the top open the liquid in the straw will run back into the glass but by putting your finger over the end you create a vacuum and the liquid remains in the straw. The straw ‘trick’ using the catheter may need to be used several times to fully empty the bladder.

  • Regular washouts. There are ongoing trials using washouts containing solutions. Consult with your Urology nurse specialist.

  • The following beverages and food can increase mucus production: fizzy drinks, caffeine, real ale and dairy.

  • Head colds or stomach upsets may increase mucous production.

  • Current research suggests that Cranberry may help in reducing mucus production. Suggested dosage: 30-300ml of juice per day or 400-500mg capsules twice a day. Cranberry should not be taken if prescribed blood thinning medication e.g Warfarin. Please discuss this with your Urology specialist.

  • D-Mannose – a natural sugar thought to block certain bacteria from growing in the urinary tract may prove useful eg 2g once a day or 1g twice a day.

  • Holiday - ask the GP to prescribe a course of antibiotics to take with you on holiday should your symptoms suggest you have a UTI whilst abroad.

  • Take probiotics during a course of antibiotics e.g. bifidobacterium longum (antibiotics kill all bacteria so take probiotics to put back the good ones.)


  • Dipstick testing in the GP’s surgery of urine from someone with a reconstructed bladder will often prove positive for nitrates and lymphocytes. If you are not symptomatic you usually will not need antibiotics.

  • If you are symptomatic please ask the Practice to send the sample for culture and sensitivities so that you can be put on the correct antibiotic.

  • However, do not wait for the results to come back if symptomatic – get antibiotics straight away. Remember the name of the antibiotic that was previously effective. You may have to change when the sensitivity results come back.


  • Increase fluid intake and therefore catheterisation (do not allow augmented or neo bladders to get too full as bowel tissue is more prone to stretching which may result in pockets being formed).

  • Take probiotics during a course of antibiotics e.g. bifidobacterium longum (antibiotics kill all bacteria so take probiotics to put back the good ones.)

  • Increase bladder washouts.

  • Increase D-Mannose to 1g three times a day for 14 days.

  • Finally, keep records of each UTI to try and spot patterns – date, length of time, diet or activities, symptoms, type of organism (results of urine sample), treatment (make note of antibiotic taken), follow up.

  • If you continue to have symptoms after your course of antibiotics submit a further sample for laboratory testing as you may need a further course of the same antibiotic or another course from the list of sensitivities.

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