Patients' Experiences, Expectations, Motivations, and Perspectives around Urinary Tract Infection Care in General Practice: A Qualitative Interview Study

S. Cox*, M. Vleeming, W. Giorgi, G.J. Dinant, J. Cals, E. de Bont

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


While there are many alternatives to antibiotics for the symptomatic treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs), their application in practice is limited. Among other things, general practitioners (GPs) often feel pressure from patients to prescribe antibiotics. To gain a better understanding of why this happens and where this pressure originates from, we investigated experiences, expectations, motivations, and perspectives of patients with UTIs in general practice. During this qualitative study we performed 14 semi-structured online interviews among female UTI patients in general practice. Interviews were based on a topic list derived from sensitising concepts. All the interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analysed using a constant comparative technique. Three main categories emerged from the data; (1) experienced versus unexperienced patients with UTI, (2) patient's lack of knowledge, and (3) patients feeling understood. Inexperienced patients consult a general practitioner for both diagnosis and symptom relief, while experienced patients seem to consult specifically to obtain antibiotics. In addition, patients have a lack of knowledge with regard to the diagnosis, treatment, self-care, and cause of UTIs. Finally, patients' satisfaction is increased by involving them more in the process of decision making, so they feel understood and taken seriously. Patients' expectations in UTI management in general practice often arise during their first experience(s) and play a major role in subsequent episodes. In conclusion, preventing misconceptions is especially important in the inexperienced patient group, as this may prevent future overtreatment of UTIs. In addition, involving patients in the decision making process will lead to greater understanding of the GP's treatment choices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number241
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023


  • general practice
  • urinary tract infections
  • antimicrobial stewardship
  • qualitative research

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