Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Drinking water can help flush urine through and ease discomfort from urinary problems.

Drinking water can help flush urine through and ease discomfort from urinary problems.
beginning of content

Urinary problems

2-minute read

The urinary tract is the part of the body that deals with storing and removing urine from the body. It is quite common for people to get infections in this part of their body.

A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when an infection, usually caused by bacteria, enters the urinary tract.

If that infection is in the bladder, it is known as cystitis. Cystitis can also be caused by irritation, even without an infection.

The main symptom of a urinary tract infection, including cystitis, is the need to pass urine more often than usual. You may often feel an irritation or burning as you pass urine as well.

Generally your doctor will give you antibiotics if you have symptoms of a UTI, and also send some urine off for testing. See your doctor promptly if:

  • you feel unwell
  • you have a temperature
  • you have looked after yourself but it has not got better
  • you are pregnant
  • you are a man, an older woman or a child
  • the symptoms continue for more than two or three days

Looking after yourself

If you have urinary problems, you can help ease the symptoms.

Drink more water than usual, to help flush urine through, unless you have a medical condition which means this is not possible. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.

If you are in pain, get advice on which pain relief medicines you can take. Talk to your pharmacist.

You may be able to take medicines called urinary alkalinisers. These relieve the pain and burning of cystitis and are available from pharmacies without prescription. They are not antibiotics, but work by neutralising the acid in the urine that causes the pain. But they are not suitable for everyone, so check with a pharmacist first.

Some people use cranberry juice to treat or prevent UTIs. There is not enough evidence from research to suggest it will work, but it might help relieve symptoms. But you should not drink cranberry juice or take cranberry extracts if you are taking warfarin (a medicine used to prevent blood clots).

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about urinary problems, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Last reviewed: February 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Cystitis - Better Health Channel

Cystitis is the most common urinary tract infection in women.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

What is a urinary tract infection | Kidney Health Australia

Urinary tract infections are very common, particularly in women, babies and the elderly. Around one in two women and one in 20 men will get a urinary tract infection in their lifetime. A urinary tract infection can range from an infection of the bladder to an infection of the kidney.

Read more on Kidney Health Australia website

Urinary Tract Infections

There are different types of UTIs and this can depend on which part of the urinary tract is infected.

Read more on Kidney Health Australia website

Urinary tract infection (UTI) - myDr.com.au

Urinary tract infection occurs when part of the urinary tract becomes infected. UTIs are usually caused by bacteria and generally clear up with a course of antibiotics.

Read more on myDr website

Urinary tract infections: Dr Joe Kosterich | myVMC

Urinary tract infections are fairly common and sometimes the jargon can be confusing because they have multiple names.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Urinary tract infections in children - myDr.com.au

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are relatively common in children andcan sometimesbe caused by your childs bladder not emptying properly orstructural problems of the kidneys o

Read more on myDr website

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) | Kidney Health Australia

Urinary tract infections are very common, particularly in women, babies and the elderly.

Read more on Kidney Health Australia website

Urinary tract infections (UTI) - Better Health Channel

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can target the urethra, bladder or kidneys.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Urinary tract infection (UTI) information | myVMC

Urinary tract infections or UTIs may affect the ureters, bladder (upper) or urethra (lower). They cause pain, fever and burning pain when urinating.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Urinary tract infection in children | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

Urinary tract infections (UTI) are common in children

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo