A painful infection that mainly affects women is too often dismissed as "women's problems".
One in every two women suffer a urinary tract infection (UTI) and they are the second most common infection globally.
Among those affected is Hannah Hanratty, 36, who suffered months of agony despite multiple negative tests. During her pregnancy, Mrs Hanratty felt the "razor-blade burning pain" when passing urine. It soon developed into a constant pain. Two weeks after giving birth she needed antibiotics following a routine procedure and said the pain immediately went. "It was a UTI all along that just hadn't been picked up by the tests," she said.
Now Dr Emma Hayhurst, a senior lecturer in Molecular Biology at the University of South Wales, has developed a device to improve testing and said the current system is "50 years out of date".
At the moment a UTI patient may be asked to provide a urine sample which is sent for analysis, with tests back in two to three days.
"That's not good enough, we need to make it quicker," said Dr Hayhurst, explaining that the device she's working on would reduce that.
"Within 30 minutes the clinician will be able to say what bacteria is causing the UTI and indeed whether there is a UTI in the first place."
Dr Hayhurst has received a £50,000 Women in Innovation Award to further her work, but also in recognition of her position as a female role model in the field of science, technology, engineering and medicine - or STEM subjects, as they're also known.
"We should be listening to the women who are telling us this is a problem in their lives, but we know many feel like they are being dismissed," she said.
Wales' Health Minister Eluned Morgan is due to publish a quality statement on women's health in the summer, and has announced funding for each health board to have a specialist endometriosis nurse.
"I feel I have particular responsibility, as the first woman health minister in a long time, to make sure we look at the issue of women's health in a lot more detail," she said.
"There are clearly some gaps, certainly when it comes to research, but also in terms of where people are concentrating their efforts and investment.
"Quite often, women are not heard in the same way as men are heard and we've really got to make sure we are rebalancing that unconscious bias."
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Source: 7 March 2022