SUPERDRUG has today launched the UK's first home test and treatment kit for UTIs – after demand soared during lockdown.
The high street chemist said its seen a 38 per cent rise in people seeking treatment for a urinary tract infection in the last six weeks.
Medics suggest cases could have increased because access to GPs has remained difficult during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It has also left more people turning to online services for treatment due to convenience and reliability, experts claim.
Michael Henry, Superdrug’s Healthcare Director, said: “When the NHS is as stretched as it is, we’re delighted to be able to support our customers.
"This new at home UTI test and treat service is easy, accessible and convenient and will also help to reduce the pressure on GP services.”
How does it work?
The non-invasive TestCard kit costs £9.99 and allows people to "test and treat" in the comfort of their own home – without having to visit a GP.
It comes with two dipsticks and a free-to-download mobile app, which uses innovative technology to turn the user's phone into a clinical grade scanner.
Experts say it's been proven to be just as reliable as the professional dipstick reading services used in hospitals and GP surgeries.
If the patient is presented with a result that is "Possible UTI or High possibility UTI" there is a redirect button to the Superdrug Online Doctor website.
What is a UTI?
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect your urinary tract, including your bladder (cystitis), urethra (urethritis) or kidneys (kidney infection).
UTIs are usually caused by bacteria from poo entering the urinary tract.
The bacteria enter through the tube that carries pee out of the body (urethra).
Women have a shorter urethra than men, which means bacteria are more likely to reach the bladder or kidneys and cause an infection.
Symptoms of a UTI may include:
- pain or a burning sensation when peeing (dysuria)
- needing to pee more often than usual during the night (nocturia)
- pee that looks cloudy
- needing to pee suddenly or more urgently than usual
- needing to pee more often than usual
- blood in your pee
- lower tummy pain or pain in your back, just under the ribs
- a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
- a very low temperature below 36C
Treatment may include self-care advice and or taking a painkiller, while some may be prescribed antibiotics.
If you keep getting UTIs and regularly need treatment, a GP may give you a repeat prescription for antibiotics.
If you have been through the menopause, you may be offered a vaginal cream containing oestrogen.
Here the patient can then follow the normal questionnaire for UTI treatment.
Superdrug Online Doctor will request a picture of the test result before they are able to provide suitable medication.
Unlike with other UTI kits on the market where you would have to go into a pharmacy for treatment, the medication can be delivered to your home.
Dr Zoe Williams, Superdrug Health Ambassador and Fab Daily doctor, said: “UTIs are a common complaint and tend to present with symptoms of pain on passing urine, needing to pee more often and needing to get to the toilet more urgently.
Always speak to your doctor straight away if you have symptoms of a more serious infection
"The urine itself may look cloudy or smell more than usual.
"Superdrug now provide this option to check if their urinary symptoms are likely to be a UTI.
"However, always speak to your doctor straight away if you have symptoms of a more serious infection, such as a high temperature, severe pain or blood in the urine.”
Andrew Botham, co-founder and chief scientific officer at TestCard, added: " “TestCard’s aim is to make testing fast, accurate, and accessible for all.
"There’s no medical jargon or complicated numbers and Superdug online doctors can then use the more detailed analysis to decide how best to treat you.
"TestCard is able to provide alternative routes to important treatment for those that need it."
The new UTI test is available from Superdrug's Online Doctor website.
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