Can you really cure a UTI with cranberry juice? Here, TestCard’s CMO Andrew Vallance Owen, breaks down some common myths about UTIs. He’ll offer tips on how you can test for UTIs and treat them from the comfort of your own home.
UTIs can make life miserable for many. It’s estimated half of all women in the UK will have a UTI at least once in their lifetime*.
If you think you may have a UTI, you can buy an at home testing kit from TestCard.com (product page link). They can cause uncomfortable and painful symptoms such as burning when urinating, an increased frequency of urination without passing much urine, bloody or cloudy urine and pelvic pain. However, once diagnosed they are usually easy to treat.
Here, TestCard’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Andrew Vallance-Owen busts six myths around UTIs that might be damaging your health.
You can catch a UTI during sex
UTIs are not contagious, so you can't catch a urinary tract infection from someone else. It is possible however that a UTI can occur after intercourse as bacteria can easily be pushed into the urethra. There are many reasons that people can get a UTI. A person does not need to be sexually active to contract a UTI, and it can happen at any age. Common risk factors include holding your urine, dehydration, and medical conditions like diabetes or immune-compromised states (e.g. an autoimmune disease).
UTIs are a sign of poor personal hygiene
While a UTI is caused by bacteria it’s not usually a sign of poor personal hygiene. Over-cleaning can actually cause problems, as harsh soaps and chemicals kill off the lactobacillus in the vagina. It’s worth knowing though that bacteria can be introduced by wiping from back to front after a bowel movement, which can contaminate the urethral opening.
Tampons cause UTIs
There is a myth that tampons cause UTIs as they are placed inside the body, in comparison to many other feminine hygiene products. In actual fact, tampons can keep the area dryer, leaving less of a chance for bacteria to flourish and cutting down on the risk of infection.
Drinking cranberry juice will cure a UTI
The jury is out, but there’s no medical evidence to back this one up. Some theories say that cranberry juice makes it harder for bacteria to stick to the bladder wall, and others suggest that it makes urine more acidic and that prevents infection. It's worth a try if you're plagued with UTIs as staying hydrated and urinating often helps your body to flush out bacteria before it travels further up inside the body.
Only women get UTIs
Women are more likely to be affected by UTIs, although they can occur in men and children too. This is because women have shorter urethras, making it easier for bacteria to access the bladder.
UTIs just go away on their own
A mild UTI could potentially go away on its own, but when ignored, UTIs can spread to kidneys and cause serious health consequences further down the line. While the infection is most often seen in the bladder, it can happen anywhere in the urinary tract. Complications from untreated UTIs can include permanent kidney damage. Although not usual, on rare occasions it can lead to sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication which can damage your organs.
If you think you have a UTI, then catch it early and treat it effectively. The TestCard at-home UTI testing kit is non-invasive and can be taken at any time, and in a location that suits you without the need to visit a doctor’s surgery for a test. You can then share your TestCard results with your healthcare professional to seek treatment quickly - saving you time.