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A/Prof Tan Thiam Chye, Head and Senior Consultant, Dr Tan Kim Teng, Senior Consultant, Adj Assoc Prof Tan Heng Hao, Deputy Chairman and Head and Senior Consultant, and A/Prof John Tee Chee Seng, Senior Consultant, all from the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth group, explain the causes of UTI in women and how to manage it.

What is urinary tract infection (UTI)?

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is due to the presence of bacteria in the urine. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) can be divided into either upper tract infection (kidney) or lower tract infection (bladder).

Pyelonephritis is the acute bacterial infection of the kidneys. Patients have severe back pain and high fever and may have frequency and urgency of urine as well. Cystitis is the infection of the urinary bladder and patients complain of frequency, urgency and dysuria (pain on passing urine).

What should you do if you have a urinary tract infection (UTI)?

General measures for simple cystitis include taking more fluids — more than two litres a day — to encourage more urine formation to flush out the bacteria.

You would need to consult a doctor if the symptoms persist or if you have a fever. Oral antibiotics prescribed by the doctor would eradicate 90 per cent of infection in a normal person. The doctor may order some investigations relevant to your condition if necessary.

Patients with severe Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) associated with fever and kidney infection may require intravenous antibiotics and hospitalisation.

See previous page to learn about urinary incontinence and how to cope with it.

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