Ask a Urologist: 5 Questions about Urinary Tract Infections

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Consultant Urologist Mr Matt Hotston, works for Ramsay Health Care at Duchy Hospital in Truro and in the NHS at the Royal Cornwall Hospital Truro, has answered these 5 important questions about urinary tract infections. 


What is a UTI and why do they occur?

A UTI is a urinary tract infection, which is essentially any infection that involves your kidneys or your bladder. Symptoms of a UTI can be:

  • Needing to pass urine more often
  • Soreness when you pee
  • Cloudy or smelly urine
  • Discomfort in your pelvis
  • Feeling generally unwell
  • A raised temperature

They can occur just by chance and can be due to various reasons. It is more common in women, (particularly post-menopause), can be associated with constipation, following intercourse (women), issues with poor bladder emptying (e.g. enlarged prostate).


Does cranberry juice help or is this a myth?

There is no evidence that cranberry juice helps. However, cranberry tablets (from your health food shop) may help reduce the risk of recurrent infections


Can I get rid of my UTI without seeing a doctor or getting antibiotics?

The priority is preventing UTIs. Top tips would include:

  • keeping well hydrated / avoiding dehydration
  • ensuring you are emptying your bladder completely
  • managing any constipation
  • avoid use of alkaline soaps (in women)
  • consider protecting your urinary tract with regular cranberry and D-mannose tablets (from health food shops)1

Once you have an established UTI, then all of the above will help, but ultimately antibiotics tend to be required.


Can you have sex with a UTI?

No, it is not advisable.


When is it time to see a specialist?

Speak to your GP, if the UTIs are recurrent (2 or more in 6 months / 3 or more in 12 months) or severe (e.g. kidney infections, required a hospital admission) or complex (e.g. related with poor bladder emptying/retention, kidney stones, blood in the urine), then your GP will be able to refer you to a Consultant Urologist.




For more information on Mr Hotston, see his website here:

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