You Dont Pee After Sex
The threat of getting a UTI shouldnt stop you from getting it on. But that doesnt mean resigning yourself to the afterburn.
One simple way to cut your risk: Head to the potty after youve finished your romp. Youll possibly flush out the bacteria that may have made their way into your urinary tract. Urinary Tract Infection. .
Causes Of Urinary Tract Infections
UTIs are usually caused by bacteria from poo entering the urinary tract.
The bacteria enter through the tube that carries pee out of the body .
Women have a shorter urethra than men. This means bacteria are more likely to reach the bladder or kidneys and cause an infection.
Things that increase the risk of bacteria getting into the bladder include:
- having sex
do not use scented soap
do not hold your pee in if you feel the urge to go
do not rush when going for a pee try to fully empty your bladder
do not wear tight, synthetic underwear, such as nylon
do not drink lots of alcoholic drinks, as they may irritate your bladder
do not have lots of sugary food or drinks, as they may encourage bacteria to grow
What Can Cause A Bladder Infection
If youve ever had a urinary tract infection, then you know the excruciating pain it can cause. This pain can not only affect your physical health but your mental health as well. In fact, a 2017 review of studies found that people with urinary tract conditions experience higher levels of psychological stress, which can worsen symptoms.
Though mild bladder infections may go away on their own, most do not. Seek urgent medical care if symptoms persist for more than 24-48 hours.
A bladder infection is an infection in any part of the urinary system, the kidneys, bladder or urethra. While bladder infections are 14 times more frequent in women, men may also suffer from UTIs and symptoms like pelvic pain, an increased urge to urinate, burning pain with urination and blood in the urine.
While you may be familiar with the painful symptoms associated with these infections, you may not know whats causing them. If you understand common urinary infection causes, you will be in a better position to prevent them.
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Why Some Women Get Recurrent Utis
The infections are usually caused by Escherichia coli, a bacterium that lives in the intestinal system. If E. coli are carried from the rectum to the vagina, they can enter the urethra and infect the bladder.
Risk factors for UTI vary with age. Before menopause, the most common risk factors are sexual intercourse and use of spermicides. It’s thought that sex increases the number of bacteria in the bladder, and many experts advise women to urinate after sex to flush them out. Spermicides may kill off Lactobacilli, beneficial bacteria in the vagina, making it easier for E. coli to move in.
After menopause, certain physical changes help set the stage for UTIs. The numbers of Lactobacilli in the vagina naturally decline. The bladder also contracts less strongly than it once did, making it more difficult to empty it completely.
In both premenopausal and postmenopausal women, genes play a role as well. Having a mother or sister who has frequent UTIs is also a risk factor.
When To Call A Healthcare Provider
Urinary tract infections require treatment with antibiotics. Even if a UTI is relatively mild, your healthcare provider will likely recommend a one- to three-day course of antibiotics.
If a UTI is causing dyspareunia, it is typically due to frequent or recurrent UTIs that require more extensive treatment. In some cases, a daily, low-dose antibiotic may be prescribed for six months or longer. In postmenopausal women, estrogen replacement therapy may be advised.
If a kidney infection develops, you need to seek prompt medical attention. If left untreated, pyelonephritis can lead to kidney failure and .
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Statistics Around Frequent Utis
While the statistics around chronic urinary tract infections are hard to find, we do know that:
- 30-44% of females with an initial UTI will experience a second UTI. And with each UTI, the risk of another UTI increases.
- Frequent UTIs may be caused by multiple organisms simultaneously.
- A significant proportion of our quiz respondents have suffered 7+ UTIs, with a recurrence every 1-3 months.
- Our own data indicate that most females who experience recurrent UTIs do so despite standard antibiotic treatment.
- Testing and treatment guidelines for chronic urinary tract infections are inadequate or do not exist in most parts of the world. This means even when doctors want to help, they generally dont have the resources or guidance they need to be able to.
- One study found that 74% of females diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis had previously been diagnosed with recurrent UTIs. Interstitial Cystitis is a painful set of urinary tract symptoms with no identified cause and no known cure.
- 93% of the females included in the above study had also received negative test results after having their urine cultured .
In short, a significant number of females move through escalating stages of diagnosis as antibiotic treatment fails to cure them and testing fails to find a cause.
Is Interstitial Cystitis Linked To Frequent Utis
We mentioned a study above, that found that 74% of survey respondents diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis, had previously been diagnosed with recurrent UTI.
Research has also shown that a high percentage of females with Interstitial Cystitis may in fact have biofilms, IBCs, or both within their bladder, and that this is the cause of their ongoing infection and recurrent symptoms.
Interstitial Cystitis and associated conditions are considered to be incurable, however
Interstitial Cystitis is a diagnosis of exclusion. This means IC is diagnosed in the absence of any other obvious cause. If a cause for your UTI symptoms is not identified by testing, a diagnosis of IC may be given.
Check out our expert video series to learn more about the chronic UTI and IC connection.
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What Are The Causes Of Utis In Men
Men are more likely to get UTIs than women. Not only this, men can suffer from a chronic form of UTI that can be particularly difficult to treat.
The lower the kidney function and urine output, the higher the risk of infections. If you have had a kidney transplant, it is important to avoid any medication that contains nitrates. The two main risk factors for men include:
1) Being uncircumcised
2) Having sex with multiple partners
Acute And Chronic Prostatitis
In the 1800s, prostatitis was thought to be secondary to excessive alcohol consumption or physical or sexual activity. It was often associated with gonorrhea and could be fatal or lead to abscess formation. By the 1920s, most cases were attributed to microorganisms, and antibiotics combined with prostate massage were standard therapy after World War II. Although the role of bacteria was questioned in the 1950s, it was reemphasized in 1968 when Meares and Stamey described their “4-glass test.”
Acute prostatitis is caused by an acute infection of the entire prostate gland, resulting in fever and localized pain. Microscopically, neutrophilic infiltrates, diffuse edema, and microabscesses may be seen, which may coalesce into larger collections.
Chronic prostatitis may be caused by inflammatory or noninflammatory diseases. This condition may arise via dysfunctional voiding, intraprostatic reflux, chronic exposure to microorganisms, autoimmune mechanisms, irritative urinary metabolites, and as a variant of neuropathic pain. Chronic bacterial prostatitis often produces few or no symptoms related to the prostate, but it is probably the most common cause of relapsing UTI in men.
Chronic prostatitis has been subdivided by the National Institutes of Health into the following categories:
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You Dont Drink Enough Water
Guzzling H2O will make you go pretty often. And thats a good thing. When you do this, the bacteria gets flushed out before they have a chance to grab hold, Minkin says.
Consider that your cue to make a giant water bottle your BFF. Hooton TM, et al. . Effect of increased daily water intake in premenopausal women with recurrent urinary tract infections: A randomized clinical trial. DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.4204
Older Adults Dont Need Powerful Antibiotics For Utis
Treatment for UTIs should begin with narrow-spectrum antibiotics, say Dr. Lathia and Dr. Goldman.
These drugs are less likely to lead to antibiotic resistance and problematic side effects than broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Today, amoxicillin is commonly prescribed as first-line treatment for UTIs in older adults.
Other common narrow-spectrum must be used with caution when patients have chronic kidney disease or take blood pressure medication, as many older adults do or because their side effects can be serious in older adults.
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A Pharmacist Can Help With Utis
You can ask a pharmacist about treatments for a UTI. A pharmacist can:
- offer advice on things that can help you get better
- suggest the best painkiller to take
- tell you if you need to see a GP about your symptoms
Some pharmacies offer a UTI management service and can prescribe antibiotics if they’re needed.
What Is A Uti
Before we talk about recurrent UTIs, lets talk about UTIs in general.
A UTI is an infection in any part of your urinary tract, the Mayo Clinic explains. The infection usually starts when bacteria normally found in your bowels get into the urethra, where pee exits from. Instead of urine flushing out the bacteria or your immune system fending it off like its supposed to, the bacteria begin to colonize the urinary tract, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases . Most UTIs stay in the urethra and bladder , per the Mayo Clinic.
Sometimes a UTI keeps coming back, which is called a recurrent UTI or a chronic UTI. Most people would say a true recurrent UTI is either two within six months or three within a year, Sandip Vasavada, M.D., urologic director of the Center for Female Urology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic within the Glickman Urological Institute, tells SELF.
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Bladder Infection Risk Factors For Women
Urinary tract infections are common in women, and, unfortunately, many women experience more than one during their lifetime. Risk factors specific to women for UTIs include:
- Female anatomyWomen have shorter urethras than men, so the distance bacteria need to travel to reach the bladder is much less.
- Sexual activitySexually active women tend to have more UTIs than women who are not sexually active. New sexual partners may also increase your risk.
- Certain types of birth control or feminine hygiene productsWomen who use diaphragms and menstrual cups may have a higher risk of UTI, as well as those who use spermicidal agents.
- MenopauseWomen in menopause are naturally producing less estrogen, which can lead to changes in the urinary tract that make them more vulnerable to infection.
If you or a loved one is struggling with a bladder infection, visit Oxford Urgent Care as soon as possible to get the treatment you need to start feeling like yourself again fast. We can also help you identify possible urinary tract infection causes so you can prevent repeat infections in the future. We welcome walk-in appointments 7 days a week from 8 a.m. 7 p.m.
You Eat A Lot Of Sugar
Bacteria that cause UTIs love feeding on sugar, so you run the risk of providing a feast for them whenever your sweet tooth strikes. Kalas V, et al. Structure-based discovery of glycomimetic FmlH ligands as inhibitors of bacterial adhesion during urinary tract infection. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1720140115
If you eat tons of added sugars and get a real surge in your blood sugar, you may end up with some of that sugar in your urine, says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Yale School of Medicine.
Some foods and beverages, like coffee, booze, and chocolate, can also irritate your delicate urinary tract and exacerbate an existing UTI.
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What Is The Treatment For A Bladder Infection During Pregnancy
In pregnant women, bladder infection can be complicated. Sometimes the presence of bacteria without obvious signs of infection in pregnant patients could be harmful and may lead to severe infections that compromise the pregnancy. As previously stated, the presence of asymptomatic bacteria in a pregnant woman warrants treatment. The choice of antibiotics during pregnancy may be different for bladder infection during pregnancy due to potential harm to the fetus and thus, careful evaluation by a physician is very important to start the correct therapy promptly.
Deterrence And Patient Education
Several preventive measures can be taken to reduce further recurrences of UTI. Patients should be advised to increase fluid intake to at least 2 liters per day. In a study on 140 women, increased water intake resulted in decreased incidence of cystitis episodes by 1.5 . Topical vaginal estrogen is recommended in postmenopausal women with vulvovaginal atrophy to reduce the risk of future UTIs, provided there are no contraindications to estrogen therapy. Other behavioral modifications include wiping from front to back and early postcoital voiding. There is no conclusive evidence on the beneficial role of cranberry juice in reducing episodes of recurrent UTI.
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Other Ways To Prevent Recurring Utis
If you have more than 3 UTIs in 1 year, or 2 UTIs in 6 months, there are other things that may help prevent UTIs.
There is some evidence that women under 65 years old who keep getting UTIs may find it helpful to take:
- a supplement called D-mannose this is not recommended for pregnant women
- cranberry products, such as juice or tablets
Speak to your doctor before taking any of these during pregnancy.
Be aware that D-mannose and cranberry products can contain a lot of sugar.
Page last reviewed: 18 November 2020 Next review due: 18 November 2023
What Are The Symptoms Of A Uti
- Pain or burning when urinating
- An urge to urinate often, but not much comes out when you go
- Pressure in your lower abdomen
- Urine that smells bad or looks milky or cloudy
- Blood in the urine. This is more common in younger women. If you see blood in your urine, tell a doctor or nurse right away.
- Feeling tired, shaky, confused, or weak. This is more common in older women.
- Having a fever, which may mean the infection has reached your kidneys
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Chronic Urinary Tract Infection
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What is a chronic urinary tract infection?
Chronic urinary tract infections are infections of the urinary tract that either dont respond to treatment or keep recurring. They may either continue to affect your urinary tract despite getting the right treatment, or they may recur after treatment.
Your urinary tract is the pathway that makes up your urinary system. It includes the following:
- Your kidneys filter your blood and generate body waste in the form of urine.
- Your ureters are tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.
- Your bladder collects and stores urine.
- Your urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of your body.
A UTI can affect any part of your urinary system. When an infection only affects your bladder, its usually a minor illness that can be easily treated. However, if it spreads to your kidneys, you may suffer from serious health consequences, and may even need to be hospitalized.
Although UTIs can happen to anyone at any age, theyre more prevalent in women. In fact, the
Urinary Tract Infection Causes
Urinary tract infections typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra, travel into the bladder and begin to multiply. Common bladder infection causes include:
- Infection of the bladder This type of infection is usually caused by Escherichia coli , a type of bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract. However, other bacteria are sometimes responsible. To reduce your risk of this type of infection, be sure to wipe front to back , drink plenty of fluids, avoid holding your urine, urinate before and after intercourse, avoid scented products and take probiotics that contain cranberry. Also, be sure to change your pad or panty liner every 3-5 hours.
- Infection of the urethra This type of infection occurs when GI bacteria spread from the anus to the urethra. Because the urethra is in close proximity to the vagina, sexually transmitted infections like herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia and mycoplasma can also cause urethritis.
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How Are Recurrent Utis Treated
Treatment for recurrent UTIs depends on what’s causing them. Sometimes the answer is as simple as teaching a child to empty their bladder as soon as they have the urge to go.
If a condition like VUR is causing the infections, the solution is a bit more complicated. Kids with VUR must be watched closely, because it can lead to kidney infection and kidney damage. Most kids outgrow the condition. Some might need surgery to correct the reflux.
Some kids with VUR benefit from daily treatment with a small amount of antibiotics, which can also make surgery unnecessary. Kids with VUR should see a pediatric urologist, who can decide if antibiotic treatment is the best option.
In some cases, surgery is needed to correct VUR. The most common procedure is ureteral reimplantation, in which one or both of the ureters are repositioned to correct the backflow of urine from the bladder. This procedure requires only a small incision and, in some children, can be done using robotic-assisted laparoscopy. When surgery is necessary, the success rate is high, but not everyone is a good candidate for it.
Kids may be candidates for ureteral reimplantation if they:
- have an intolerance to antibiotics
- get recurrent infections while on antibiotic treatment
- have severe, or “high-grade,” reflux
- are older kids and teens with reflux