UTI Test & Treat Service

Cystitis Test & Treat Service

An easy way for women to test & treat a urinary tract infection

Our service starts from:

£5 for a Test

£12 for Test & Treat

This service could save you a trip to the GP.

What is cystitis?

Cystitis, a type of urinary tract infection (UTI), is an inflammation of the bladder which is usually caused by a bacterial infection. It’s an extremely common condition in women, and although it can be really uncomfortable, it’s usually easy to treat.

What are the symptoms of cystitis?

Symptoms include:

  • Burning or stinging feeling when passing urine
  • Needing to pass urine suddenly or more often than usual
  • Urine that’s cloudy
  • Pain low down in your tummy

In nine out of ten cases of female bladder infection, cystitis is caused by E.coli bacteria from the bowels. Women have a shorter urethra than men and it sits closer to the anus. These E.coli bacteria move from the anus to the urethra as a result of poor hygiene habits (such as wiping your bottom from back to front, instead of from front to back).

It is also possible for women to get cystitis from having sex because the bacteria can be rubbed into the urethra – you can reduce the risk of this happening by urinating after sex to flush out any bacteria that might have transferred. Certain sexually transmitted infections can mimic some of the symptoms of a bladder infection. If the burning sensation during urination is accompanied by any discharge, you should see a doctor.

However if you keep experiencing persistent pain and difficulty urinating, you should also see a doctor, as this can be a symptom of kidney stones or other infections.

What is the Cystitis Test & Treat Service? 

Our Cystitis Test & Treat Service allows you to test for a urinary tract infection, and treat it, without necessarily needing to see your GP. You can use the test kit at a time and in a place to suit you, and, once you’ve completed the test, all you need to do is bring your results back in store for a pharmacist to review. Depending on your results, they will advise you on treatment – which may include the supply of a prescription-only medicine– to help you get back to normal.

Who can use this service?

This service is for women, aged 16 to 64, who have symptoms of a UTI, such as burning pain when passing urine, cloudy urine, or needing to pass urine more often than usual.

If you have severe symptoms, have signs of a kidney infection (such as back pain) or if you feel unwell (for example, if you have a high temperature or flu-like symptoms), we recommend you speak to your GP.

We also recommend you see your GP if your only symptom is visible blood in your urine, or if you have had two or more bouts of cystitis within the last six months, or three or more within the last 12 months.

This service is also not suitable if you are pregnant or have diabetes.

How it works
  • Step one – Pop into your local Dears Pharmacy and speak to our pharmacist. They’ll ask a few simple questions and, if suitable, recommend the UTI test kit.
  • Step two – Open your UTI test kit and follow the instructions to complete the urine dipstick test.
  • Step three – Discuss your results & treatment options (if applicable)

Return to the pharmacy with your test sample result. Our pharmacist will be able to explain what the test results mean and advise you on your next steps, which may include the supply of a prescription-only medication.

What else can I do to help relieve the symptoms?

There are lots of ways you can help to relieve the symptoms of a UTI, such as:

  • Consider taking over-the-counter medicines such as paracetamol or ibuprofen (if suitable)
  • Drink enough fluids to stop you feeling thirsty. Aim to drink six to eight glasses a day, including water, decaffeinated and sugar-free drinks
  • Soothe your discomfort with a hot water bottle
  • Avoid having sex until you’re feeling better as it may make the condition worse
  • Avoid alcohol, fruit juice and caffeine

The cost of the UTI urine test kit is £5, and the pharmacist consultation and supply of prescription-only medicine, if appropriate, is a further £7 (Total price £12 for Test & Treat).

You can also order a course of your cystitis medication for future use, so that you have your treatment ready when your infection starts.

Medication For Cystitis Treatment

MacroBid is an antibiotic used to treat urinary tract infections. It contains the active ingredient nitrofurantoin, which is filtered out of the blood into the urine by the kidneys. Once in the urine, MacroBid kills the bacteria that are causing an infection in the urinary tract.

MacroBid is a prolonged-release medication. This means that the medication works slowly and gradually over a few hours. For this reason, you should swallow the capsules whole. Don’t chew them or break them open to take them.

MacroBid can turn your urine a dark yellow or brown colour. This is normal – it is caused by the colour of the medicine.

Like MacroBid, Trimethoprim 200mg is an antibiotic that was used to treat cystitis (water infections and inflammation of the bladder) and urinary tract infections (UTIs).  Because of increased antibiotic resistance, Trimethoprim is no longer recommended for treating cystitis in the UK, so we no longer offer it.

The most recent guidelines from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence show that Nitrofurantoin is now the best antibiotic treatment for cystitis in the UK.

You can also order a future supply of Nitrofurantoin so that you can start treatment as soon as you get an infection.

How does Nitrofurantoin work?

Nitrofurantoin is an antibiotic. It works by killing the bacteria which commonly cause cystitis. Unlike many other antibiotics, a sufficient amount of nitrofurantoin is passed with your urine, which is why it is highly effective in treating infections of the bladder.

Nitrofurantoin Dosage

You need to take one nitrofurantoin 100mg dose in the morning and one in the evening. You should aim to take the tablets at the same time every day. The course will last for three days. The tablets need to be swallowed whole with a drink of water.

You may feel better before you have completed the course of antibiotics. However, it is important that you finish your course as advised, even if you feel better. If you stop taking your antibiotic early, the bacteria which cause cystitis can become resistant to the medication. If this happens, your infection will return and it can be very difficult to treat. Taking your tablets as directed twice daily for three days to help prevent this from happening.

What is the difference between MacroBid and nitrofurantoin?

MacroBid is a brand name for nitrofurantoin, which is the active substance the tablets contain. Nitrofurantoin is also available under other brand names.

Nitrofurantoin can cause side effects. These can include the following:

  • diarrhoea
  • nausea and headache
  • stomach problems and being sick
  • loss of appetite
  • skin rash
  • rapid heart rate
  • skin rashes including blistering, flaking and a rash accompanied by a fever and rapid heart rate
  • facial pains
  • dizziness and drowsiness
  • changes to the numbers of your blood cells (which may show up in blood tests and cause unusual bruising, anaemia, throat infections and colds)
  • delayed clotting of the blood
  • inflammation of the pancreas and abdominal pain
  • short-term hair loss

It is also possible to have a severe allergic reaction to any medication. If you experience wheezing, shortness of breath, swelling of your eyes, mouth or face, or itching, you should stop taking the medication and seek medical attention urgently.

In some cases, germs may be resistant to nitrofurantoin. In these cases, the treatment can remain unsuccessful.

For a full list of possible side effects and risks associated with taking nitrofurantoin tablets, please read the patient leaflet supplied with your medication.

Interaction with other medicines 

Nitrofurantoin tablets can interact with some medicines.

Tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medications:

  • medicines used to treat gout
  • medicines for raised pressure in the eye (glaucoma), such as acetazolamide
  • antacids for indigestion
  • medicines which slow down the passage of food through your stomach (for example atropine and hyoscine)
  • medicines used to treat infections, such as quinolones
  • drugs which make your urine less acidic (such as potassium citrate)
  • the contraceptive pill (nitrofurantoin can lower the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill so you should use additional contraception such as a condom)
  • typhoid vaccine

Do not take nitrofurantoin if you:

  • are allergic to any of the ingredients
  • are suffering from a severe kidney problem
  • are in the final stages of pregnancy
  • are suffering from the blood disorder porphyria
  • are deficient in an enzyme called G6PD (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase)
  • are breastfeeding a baby who is deficient in G6PD

Tell your doctor if you:

  • are suffering from diabetes
  • have a history of allergic reactions
  • have anaemia (symptoms include pale skin, weakness and breathlessness)
  • have a lack of vitamin B or abnormal levels of salts in your blood
  • are suffering from an infection affecting your lungs, your liver or your nervous system

Nitrofurantoin and Alcohol

Nitrofurantoin and alcohol do not interact. Moderate alcohol consumption will not reduce the effect of nitrofurantoin. However, it is not advisable to drink alcohol while suffering from a bladder infection. Herbal teas and water are more suitable and drinking plenty of nonalcoholic fluids will help you get rid of the infection.

Please note that we will not prescribe Nitrofurantoin tablets for pregnant women. Please consult your doctor if you are pregnant and believe you have a urine infection. Speak to your doctor if you are breastfeeding and require medication for cystitis.


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