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Recurrent Urinary Infection - What is it?

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a problem for many women. Bacteria often travel from the urethra to the bladder, causing a bladder infection (cystitis). Occasionally, the infection may also affect the kidneys.

Patients with urinary tract infections may complain of some or all of the following symptoms

  • lower abdominal discomfort
  • having to pass urine very often
  • rushing to pass urine
  • burning or stinging when you pass urine
  • high temperature
  • foul-smelling urine

Many women suffer with recurrent infections. It is common for women to suffer up to 3 infections a year, but women who get 4 or more infections may need further tests, such as a scan or a bladder inspection (cystoscopy) to look for an underlying cause.

What causes recurrent UTI?

Usually, no particular cause can be found. Some women find that sexual intercourse can trigger an infection. This is very common. Occasionally, recurrent UTIs can be caused by an underlying problem, such as:

  • oestrogen deficiency (in women who have been through the menopause)
  • poor bladder emptying
  • narrowing of the urethra (water pipe)
  • kidney or bladder stones
  • diabetes

It is sometimes necessary to do some tests to rule out an underlying problem, such as a cystoscopy or ultrasound scan.