Impact of sociodemographic status and UTI symptoms on women’s healthcare seeking and management in England: findings from an e-survey conducted during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic

Emily Cooper*, Brieze Read, Leigh Sanyaolu, Haroon Ahmed, Donna Lecky

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Background: Multiple factors may influence women’s experiences of urinary tract infection (UTI) and its clinical management. Aim: To explore how women’s background, symptoms, and severity of symptoms influence UTI reporting and management. Design & setting: Internet questionnaire targeting women in England, focusing on UTI symptoms, care seeking, and management. Method: A total of 1096 women aged ≥16 years with UTI symptoms in the previous year completed the questionnaire in March and April 2021. Multivariable logistic regression was ued to estimate the odds of relevant outcomes while adjusting for background characteristics. Results: Women with children in their household, who were aged under 45 years, or who were married or cohabitating were more likely to experience UTI symptoms. The odds of antibiotic prescribing were lower if women reported dysuria (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.65, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.49 to 0.85), frequency (AOR = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.48 to 0.83), or vaginal discharge (AOR = 0.69, 95% CI = 0.50 to 0.96), but higher if reporting haematuria (AOR = 2.81, 95% CI = 1.79 to 4.41), confusion (AOR = 2.14, 95% CI = 1.16 to 3.94), abdominal pain (AOR = 1.35, 95% CI = 1.04 to 1.74), or systemic symptoms (AOR = 2.04, 95% CI = 1.56 to 2.69). Those with abdominal pain or two or more of nocturia, dysuria, or cloudy urine had lower odds of receiving a delayed antibiotic, while those with incontinence, confusion, unsteadiness, or low temperature had higher odds of a delayed prescription. Increasing symptom severity was associated with greater odds of receiving antibiotics. Conclusion: Except for reduced prescribing if a woman had dysuria and frequency, antibiotic prescribing followed an expected pattern, aligning generally with national guidance. Symptom severity and the likelihood of systemic infection probably influenced care seeking and prescribing. Sexual intercourse and childbirth may be key times to target women with messages about UTI prevention.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberBJGPO.2023.0039
    JournalBJGP Open
    Volume7
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2023

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2023, The Authors. All Rights Reserved.

    Keywords

    • Author Keywords: female
    • dysuria
    • general practitioners
    • prescribing
    • primary healthcare
    • surveys and questionnaires
    • urinary tract infections
    • urology

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