UTIs are a common condition yet women suffer for decades because treatment and testing is inadequate

About 60% of women will experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) at some point in their lives, and about half of them will have recurrent infections.

For an unfortunate but insignificant minority, common infections can become chronic. If the infection is not treated, the bacteria can invade and persist for months or even years.

Urinary tract infections are often overlooked as mild or common infections that can be easily treated with over-the-counter medications. However, this cartoon fails to capture the level of suffering that this condition can cause.

As the documentary I made with two other female directors shows, UTIs primarily strike women, causing lasting physical pain and trauma.

It is also a disease that carries a lot of shame and stigma as it is associated with urinary tract infections and frequent sexual intercourse as well. It has the ability to change relationships with female sexual partners and can be as simple as going to the bathroom in fear and pain.

People who are considered “women’s disease” and have chronic and recurrent urinary tract infections should be guided by a medical system designed to minimize the experience and provide daily pain relief.

However, there are certain UTIs that make this situation very difficult. Most people who experience PPI symptoms go to their GP to have a urinary tract infection analyzed with a simple stick test. The patient was diagnosed and sent with a 3-day antibiotic prescription.

This works for some. Not for others. The patient should return to the doctor because short-term medication may not be enough to clear the infection, but the symptoms will persist. In some cases, GPs find no evidence of infection and patients experience pain with bare hands.

Tests to identify PPIs were developed in the 1950s and quickly proved insensitive to most infections, especially chronic ones. This medical history habit has a lasting effect. At this time, patients must have large amounts of bacteria in their urine. This means that it is almost impossible to convince a GP to diagnose and prescribe antibiotics unless the test results are positive. It means

As a result, women not only torture doctors and are encouraged to treat themselves with expensive alternative therapies, but also cause untreated infections and bacteria that damage the urinary tract in the long term to build up. growth.

These tests are so inadequate that many women will live years or even decades without proper diagnosis and treatment planning. This can lead to severe psychological and emotional harm – some of the women featured in our documentary are reported to have committed suicide – and untreated urinary tract infections to kidney infections. This can progress to disease and sepsis. This is very tragic because most of the solutions for early infection are very simple. Generous antibiotic treatment and thorough follow-up care.

We need a better and more accurate UTI test. Too many women live with pain and can’t do simple things like go to the bathroom or have sex with their partner without pain and fear. Up to 1.7 million women in the UK suffer from chronic lower urinary tract symptoms that ruin people’s lives.

But that’s not all. The failure of the IPA highlights a fundamental problem with the way the current health system is geared towards women’s health and the impact on women’s experiences. Urinary tract infections are not the only disease that mainly affects women who need more money for research. And regardless of their opinion of the current test protocol, doctors need to listen to patients. When a woman goes to the family doctor with debilitating symptoms, it’s not enough to send her off with a negative test and a shrug.

With timely and preventive treatment, acute urinary tract infections should not become chronic. And women will leave their clinics determined, knowing that their pain and suffering will be taken seriously and their needs met.

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