@jackh when people say urinary tract infections (UTIs) they’re usually talking about cystitis which an infection of the bladder. People with vaginas can get these very easily because the distance between the opening of the urethra (where wee comes out) and the bladder is very short and bacteria doesn’t have to travel far to cause a problem!
The most common bacteria that causes cystitis is E. coli. This is a gut bacteria we often have on our bodies. Sex can help push this bacteria into the urethra, but it’s not considered an STI because you don’t get it from your partner (having sex with someone who has a UTI doesn’t mean you need treatment). We all have this bacteria around, it’s just a matter of whether it gets into your bladder. People with penises are much less likely to get this infection simply because the anatomy makes it hard for bacteria to get into the bladder.
If you think you have a UTI/cystitis there isn’t really a way around seeing a doctor. You should have a wee test and if you do have the infection you’ll need a prescription for antibiotics. If you leave it untreated, it can get worse unfortunately. Keep in mind, GPs are totally used to this stuff! They see genitals with infections all the time. You should expect them to be reassuring and helpful!