‘A UTI is one of my first memories’

Caitlin Daley, NSW, has dealt with urinary tract infections (UTIs) since she was only five years old. While it has been challenging, the experience eventually inspired her choice of career.

“Unfortunately, a UTI is one of my first memories. I was sitting on the toilet feeling like I was busting to go, only to find I hardly had anything there, and of course that awful burning feeling that left me in tears. It is still such a vivid memory for me,” Caitlin says.

The UTIs continued throughout her childhood and only became less common in adulthood. She is now 26 and estimates she’s had about three cases over the last five years.

“The worst of the three was when I was hiking for four days in New Zealand. We were completely isolated, mid-way through our hike and the symptoms started.

“I managed to ward it off until we were on a train ride home. I arrived home and immediately called the doctor. I was feverish and very, very unhappy!”

Caitlin hiking to Base Camp Everest
Caitlin’s scary UTI experience hasn’t stopped her adventures. This is her hiking to Base Camp Everest!


Caitlin says there is a lot of anxiety around pain and feeling like the symptoms of another UTI are starting. Unexpectedly, she has managed to turn these negative experiences of UTIs into fuel for a career she’s passionate about.

“I don't let UTIs stop me from doing what I love. I suppose the main thing it led me towards was my career choice in becoming a pelvic floor physio,” she says.

“My whole life, I've understood what it's like to be impacted by my bladder. I find I can really empathise with the women I work with.”

Some factors that make it more likely for women to have recurrent UTIs include:

  • sexual intercourse
  • use of spermicidal products for contraception
  • maternal history, for example having a mum with a history of UTIs
  • having their first UTI at a young age.

Read more: What to do about UTIs.

This story was first published in Bridge magazine. Subscribe to Bridge online.