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Chronic UTI infections: NHS finally recognises debilitating condition exists in online advice for patients

The NHS has publicly recognised that chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs) exist and has updated its advice for patients following pressure from campaign groups.

For many patients who develop a UTI, their experience is extremely painful but short-lived. But for thousands of others, a one-off acute attack turns into a chronic infection that dominates their lives and lasts for months or even years.

NHS Digital updated its website to last week to provide information around chronic bladder infections where previously there was none.

Campaigners say this is a “huge step forward” but there is still a long way to go in improving testing and treatments for the condition. 

Chronic UTI sufferer Leah Herridge has been pushing for the change alongside Chronic Urinary Tract Infection Campaign (CUTIC) and Bladder Health UK.

The NHS website’s Cystitis page has been updated to include mentions of chronic UTI and to acknowledge that current tests may not pick up these infections. 

Previously, the NHS made no mention of chronic UTIs, meaning GPs and even consultants would often default to misdiagnosing patients with interstitial cystitis.

Specialists say the infections, which often begin as an acute bout of cystitis, can occur when bacteria become embedded within the bladder wall and become difficult to treat with short courses of antibiotics.

“People tend to think chronic means really bad. What it means is everlasting,” said Carolyn Andrew, from CUTIC.

In August 2021, Ms Herridge sent a letter to NHS Digital demanding the web page be updated. The campaign was backed by CUTIC and Bladder Health UK as well as 100 other chronic UTI sufferers who also wrote letters.

“NHS Digital has actually been really, really fantastic at working with us and I do feel like they have really co-produced, certainly the interstitial cystitis page with the leading professionals in the area, the charities and myself,” said Ms Herridge.

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Source: iNews, 14 March 2022


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