Women’s experiences of urinary tract infections and impact on life: an exploratory qualitative study

Priyanka H. Krishnaswamy*, Eilidh Middleton, Suzanne Hagen, Karen Lesley Guerrero, Jo Booth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Importance: Despite high incidences of urinary tract infections (UTIs), little is known about how bothersome symptoms are and the effects on women's life and sexual activity, leaving a gap in our understanding of the physical and emotional effects of UTIs on women.
Objectives: This initial exploratory and descriptive study analyzes women's experiences of UTI and their perceived impact on quality of life.
Study Design: Qualitative interviews were undertaken with 23 women who had experienced at least 1 UTI, recruited from different settings—primary care, general gynecology clinics, urogynecology clinics, and online via social media. Data were analyzed thematically.
Results: Three themes described women's experiences of UTI: Women in all groups reported a wide range of physical symptoms and described the financial and psychological effects of UTIs. These effects seemed worse in women recruited via social media who also reported experiencing strong emotions and worries about close family members. Urinary tract infection support groups were considered useful, with women being grateful for consultations with alternative health practitioners and presuming safety of
natural products.
Conclusions: Having a UTI appeared to affect women in a variety of ways, ranging from having different physical symptoms to being psychologically affected by these symptoms, which affected their quality of life in different ways. This research contributes to the growing evidence on how UTIs affect women, specifically further expanding on the impact on women in a range of settings—in the community and different health care settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-86
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Early online date13 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Urology


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