Every Christmas, thousands of women suffer with lower abdominal and urinary pain as stress, sex and alcohol can lead to an increased number of UTIs (urinary tract infections) over the festive period.

Infections can be common during his time as there are an increased number of late nights, not enough sleep and stress, most of which certainly don’t provide the right fuel of nutrients and energy for the body. This can lead to you feeling run down.

It can also sometimes be difficult getting a doctor’s appointment over the holidays too - meaning many leave UTIs untreated at this time of year, but when ignored, UTIs can spread to kidneys and cause serious health consequences further down the line.

Here are my top tips for avoiding a UTI this Christmas:

  • Try not to go crazy with alcoholic, fizzy or caffeinated drinks and drink plenty of water. Alcohol especially is known to irritate the bladder, and causes dehydration -  not only making an UTI far more uncomfortable, but it also means the body is unable to get rid of bacteria as easily if it is not releasing enough water
  • With days off work, nights out, and possibly even trips away, many people have more sex during the festive season. However, this could increase the chances of developing a UTI as bacteria gets pushed into the urethra when having sex. After sex be sure to go to the toilet or have a shower to decrease your chances of a UTI
  • Christmas is a time of indulgence for all of us, but don’t forget basic nutrition. Increase your intake of vitamin C by eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Don’t resist the urge to pee – don’t hold it in and go as soon as you need to
  • Keep a TestCard UTI test kit in the cupboard just in case. TestCard combines a urine test kit embedded into a postcard, with a smartphone app. The UTI test strips act like a dipstick and turns your smartphone camera into a clinical grade scanner. Simply dip into your urine sample briefly then use the smartphone app to scan your results. This is a quick and easy way to detect a UTI with the app showing immediate results
  • Most importantly, make sure you get some rest during the Christmas break. Although it’s tempting to try to do everything, your body will thank you for the rest

So make sure you look after yourself this Christmas in spite of the many temptations to overindulge. We’ve had a stressful 2020, and it’s taken a toll on us all. By looking after yourself over the festive season you’ll not only be decreasing your risks of catching a cold or flu, but also helping your body protect itself against UTIs.

If you think you have a UTI, then catch it early and treat it effectively. The TestCard at-home UTI test kit is non-invasive and can be used at any time, and in a location that suits you. You can then share your TestCard results with your healthcare professional to seek treatment quickly.

What are the symptoms of a UTI?

There’s a wealth of information available online about UTIs. You can learn more about the treatment of cystitis and UTIs by speaking to your healthcare professional. You can also use digital tools to find out more by visiting the NHS website.

Here’s our symptom checklist to help you find out if you may have a UTI:

  • Burning sensation while peeing, it’s common with a UTI to feel a burning sensation or discomfort when you pee
  • Frequent urination, you may need to pee more frequently than usual and with greater urgency
  • Changes in urine colour or smell, your urine may be stronger smelling or could change colour to appear darker or cloudy like apple juice
  • Pain in your lower abdomen, in your bladder area
  • Tiredness. During the festive period, it’s common to feel tired as your routine won’t be as normal but you may feel even more tired than usual