The Horrors of the UTI

As Halloween creeps upon us, it’s time to consider something everyone should be afraid of: the UTI. UTIs, or urinary tract infections, are exactly what they sound like – an infection affecting the bladder, due to bacteria entering through the urethra. Rarely talked about, due to their embarrassing nature, the UTI can be a surprise more terrifying than any vampire or zombie. I, for one, was convinced I was dying when I first experienced the burning pain and bloody urine that this infection brings…

However, despite the symptoms feeling like a special curse designed to make you suffer, a UTI is rarely serious. A surprisingly common illness, given how little it is discussed, one in two women will experience a UTI in their lifetime. (UTIs are much less common in men, so any guys reading this can breathe a sigh of relief and learn to be appropriately sympathetic towards their female counterparts.)

The Symptoms

To make sure you’re definitely not dying, it helps to be familiar with the symptoms of a UTI:

– A frequent or constant urge to pee

– Pain or discomfort when peeing

– Lower stomach pain 

– Urine that is cloudy, smelly or contains blood

– Feeling tired or unwell

(It is worth noting that if you have a fever, pain in your lower sides or back, confusion or are vomiting, you may have an upper UTI. This affects the kidneys and is serious without treatment, so you should see your GP.)

Treatment

If you have been cursed by the UTI goblins then do not fret, as most infections will get better on their own. But in the meantime, I’m here as your fairy godmother to help ease your suffering:

– Take painkillers to help with discomfort

– A hot water bottle can also help with pain

– Drink plenty of fluids

– When you can, listen to those regular ‘gotta pee’ urges – this is your body flushing out the infection

– Stay at home or somewhere with easy access to a toilet – having once contracted a UTI whilst visiting a derelict castle, I cannot stress how much being near a toilet will ease you mind. 10/10 would not UTI in a castle again

– A gentle distraction, like reading or watching something, will help take your mind off how much you need to pee, all the time

– Avoid sex until the infection clears up – perhaps an obvious one, but worth mentioning. It’ll hurt, and you’ll just feel like peeing the whole time. Not the sexiest feeling.

When to see a doctor?

– If you are in a lot of pain and discomfort

– If you are unsure of your symptoms

– If your symptoms don’t clear up after a day or two

While most UTIs will clear up on their own – with the help of you drinking and then peeing a small lake’s worth of water – you may sometimes need to visit your GP and take a course of antibiotics. There is no need to be embarrassed since, as mentioned, UTIs are extremely common and nothing new to your doctor.

Prevention

If this article has sufficiently convinced you that it’s UTIs you should be afraid of, not spiders or the dark, then take note of these tips to avoid the horrors of the UTI:

– Pee after sex – you’re tired and you don’t feel like moving, but the UTI goblins don’t care. Just do it. Go pee. Right now.

– Wipe from front to back. NEVER back to front.

– Try to completely empty your bladder when peeing

– If you need the toilet, don’t hold it in for too long

– Wear loose cotton underwear – yes, you can still wear that sexy pair you got from Victoria’s Secret, but save them for those special occasions

– Don’t use perfumed bubble bath or soap

– Take showers more often than baths

– Take cranberry or D-Mannose supplements – this is a tip for those who experience regular UTIs, despite following the tips above. The science behind the supplements isn’t clear, but many swear by them to keep the UTI goblins at bay

I hope this article has educated you on the truly frightening aspects of the UTI and I wish you all a happy a Halloween. Be sure to pee after sex, or the UTI goblins will be waiting…

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