There are some infections that are more than just unpleasant; they are also positively embarrassing. That is certainly true if they occur ‘downstairs’, or anywhere else you might refer to by a euphemism.
However, whether it is haemorrhoids, period issues, injuries in the most awkward places or anything else of that ilk, you can be reassured that our professional pharmacists know how they are treated, understand that these all affect lots of people and will be concerned simply with guiding you to the best way of dealing with the situation.
A particularly unpleasant thing that falls into this category is a urinary tract infection (UTI). These can affect people of any age from early childhood right through to old age, and might need treatment with antibiotics. In some cases the symptoms can also be a sign of other issues that need wider intervention, so it is crucial not to be squeamish about seeking help.
However, the NHS website advises that before you come to a urinary tract infection treatment pharmacy, you may need to see your GP. This is certainly the case if it is the first time you have had a UTI. This is partly because it could be a sign of something further such as kidney disease or bladder cancer, so you need to get checked out.
Indeed, there is a wide range of people who should see a GP at the outset if they have a UTI. This also includes men, pregnant women, those recovering from surgery, children, those for whom symptoms are persistent or recurrent, or if you are caring for a frail old person with a UTI.
Symptoms can include high or low temperature, a burning sensation when peeing, blood in urine or a cloudy colour to it, needing to go more often than usual or abdominal pain. Children and old people may also wet the bed, with kids sometimes being sick as well.
All this is a good reason to seek medical attention, but once you have seen the GP you may find yourself coming to us for antibiotics or other medication, including follow-up treatments.
There are a range of ways you can help prevent a UTI or at least greatly reduce the risk, which you may find particularly useful having suffered once in preventing any recurrence.
Among these are cleaning genitalia after sex, wiping front to back when using the loo (this is vital for ladies to ensure bacteria from the rectum is kept away from the urethra), drinking plenty of fluids, not holding pee in and also being careful of using scented hygiene products for the vaginal area. Some types of birth control can also be a problem, so women should be willing to change these.
You can also take some positive steps to avoid a UTI with probiotic yoghurts, which helps ensure there will be more good bacteria in the gut, while cranberries can acidify your urine, which can create a more hostile environment for any bacteria that do reach your urinary tract.
Whatever you may do to fight UTI infections, the one thing you should never do is be squeamish about coming forward. The sooner it is treated, the quicker you can have it sorted out and be feeling well ‘down there’ again.