The Ugly Truth About Why You Keep Getting Urinary Tract Infections (2023)

The Ugly Truth About Why You Keep Getting Urinary Tract Infections (1)

You’ve had one UTI….and that was bad enough. Thenanotherpopped up and you were totally over the pain, the burn, and theconstanturgency to use the bathroom.Upon the arrival of the third infection, you were left puzzled and unsure: where could these urinary tract infections be originating from? Why is this happening?

What you may have are recurrent UTIs (also called chronic UTIs or recurrentbladder infections). Below you will find the low-down on why you keep getting urinary tract infections.

  • Good news: A few reasons just require slight lifestyle changes. We will start with these easy-to-fix issues.
  • Bad news: Some reasons are way more complicated
  • Good news again: There is still hope for those in the “bad news” category

You won’t find sugarcoating here. There are some completely unfair reasons (like your age and sex) that lead to your burning pain time and time again. But with knowledge comes power.

Why You Keep Getting Urinary Tract Infections

1.You’re Not Drinking Enough Water

The idea behind this is straightforward: urination helps to flush out bacteria, and the production of urine requires water. Therefore, consuming adequate amounts of water can aid in preventing infections.

We frequently hear the recommendation of drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of fluids per day. If you are a big man versus a small woman, you may need an extra glass of water.

Though juices and soda can still help you create urine, their sugar content is not helping you prevent infection. Stick to water and herbal teas.

2. You’re Holding It In

It does you no good to drink all that extra water only to have your urine sit in your bladder all day. When you have to go, go!

Here’s why: you don’t want any bacteria in your bladder to hang out there. This gives it time to multiply and infect. So move it out by using the bathroom.

Holding it now and then when you absolutely cannot go (like on a road trip or during a work meeting) should not make you too worried.

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But when you constantly try to hold it in out of laziness or time management, you could have a problem.

3. You Aren’t Wiping Correctly

Let’s keep this one short and sweet. Ladies, wipe from front to back, not back to front.

No matter how healthy or clean you are, your feces can have E. coli. You don’t want to pull it up to your urethra/vaginal area.

4. You’re Not Having Sex Right

Okay… you’re probably having sex right, but what you do before and what you do after might be all wrong.

  • No Spermicide: If you are using spermicide-coated condoms or spermicide jelly to protect against unwanted pregnancy, switch your birth control methods. Spermicide is directly connected to UTIs. Switching to regular condoms should do the trick.
  • Go To The Bathroom:Youmustgo to the bathroom right after you are done having sex– each and every time. We all have bacteria in our bodies. The rubbing movement of sex sort of “invites” those bacteria to enter your urethra. When you use the bathroom, you are essentially flushing out the bacteria before it has time to travel up to your bladder.

Remember thatUTIs are not contagious. They are not sexually transmitted infections. So as long as you stay consistent with these two behaviors, sex should not be giving you UTI troubles.

5. You Have Diabetes

Now we are exiting these easy-fix ways to stop your chronic UTIs and entering the more complicated reasons you get one infection after another.

Plenty of other diseases – many of which seem entirely removed from the urinary tract – can lead to chronic UTIs. And diabetes is one of them.

Diabetics aretwice as likelyto develop a UTI than anyone else. This has to do with lowered immune systems, sugar in your blood and urine, and potential nerve damage in your bladder.

Managing your blood sugar well can actually help you prevent these UTIs. So any steps you take to get your diabetes under control actually help you get your chronic UTIs under control too.

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6. You Have Kidney Stones

Kidney stonesblock different areas of your urinary tract as they start heading out of the body. These blockages can sometimes make it difficult for your bladder to empty entirely, raising your chances of infection.

If you are prone to kidney stones, take measures to prevent them. This includes:

  • Limiting animal protein
  • Limiting oxalate consumption
  • Limiting salt and sugar consumption
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Takingnatural supplementslike Chanca Piedra

Fewer kidney stones = fewer UTIs.

7. You’re A Woman

UTIs are officially sexist.Womengetfarmore than men. For every 8 female UTIs, there is only 1 male UTI. But there is actually a reason behind it.

A woman’s urethra is very small compared to a man’s urethra. This means bacteria do not have to go very far in order to get to the woman’s bladder.

Once a woman is 24, there is a1 in 3 chancethat she’s had at least 1 urinary tract infection. Somewhere around 50% and 60% of women will get a UTI throughout their life.

And every time a woman gets a UTI, the chance of developing another oneincreases. This makes sense when you consider almost all cases of recurrent bladder infections happen to women.

8. You’re Pregnant

To stick around on the “UTI and women” bandwagon for just a second is another reason you could be dealing with multiple UTIs inpregnancy.

From week 6 to week 24, the risk of UTIs goes up. Your changing hormones can actually cause urinary tract changes. And the uterus presses on the bladder, sometimes preventing full urine exit.

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Since you are pregnant, make sure to see your doctor right away. Urinary tract infections can go from the bladder to the kidney – which is much more dangerous than a regular UTI.

Normally the pregnant woman will be given a baby-safe antibiotic to deal with the infection swiftly.

9. You’re Getting Older

Sorry ladies, this is just one of those unfortunate facts of life. Life aftermenopausecan often mean more frequent UTIs. And there are a lot of factors playing a role in these unfortunate infections.

The good bacteria normally found in your vagina (the ones that help fight off bad bacteria) start to decrease.

It is also harder for older women to completely empty their bladder, so any bacteria in the urine may sit there for a while.

If other women in your family have had lots of post-menopausal UTIs, the chances go up for you too.

10. Your Prostate Is Enlarged or Infected

Now we have one chronic UTI cause that actually has to do with men. When men do get a UTI, it is most likely due to prostate issues. This is why the raremale UTIis even rarer in younger men.

Since the prostate is right under the bladder, an enlarged prostate can block the flow of urine. This means any bacteria in the bladder sits there for long periods of time.

Sometimes doctors will employ the “watch and wait” method with an enlarged prostate. But if it is becoming a UTI issue for you, talk to your doctor about the various medication and procedures that can help.

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11. You Need A Catheter

Anytime you are catheterized, you are at risk for a UTI.

Even with all the proper hygiene steps, you are introducing a foreign object into the urethra. Bacteria can come in during insertion or simply during any of the time it remains in your bladder.

The CDCdoes offer some tips to try to eliminate the catheter-associated UTIs, which include:

  • Always wash your hands before touching the catheter
  • Keeping the urine bag below your bladder at all times
  • Not tugging, pulling, twisting, or kinking the tube

If this becomes a problem for you – especially a recurrent problem – talk with your doctor to see if there are any other options available.

Chronic UTI Treatment

When someone gets just one UTI, the typical treatment is one round of antibiotics. Within two or three days the symptoms vanish. After all the pills, the infection vanishes.

But when you deal with chronic UTIs, doctors will often put you on long-term, low-dose antibiotics. Or, you may be given some antibiotics to take each time you are done having sex.

Sometimes this works. Sometimes it doesn’t. It is possible that once you get off the long-term antibiotics, the UTIs could start right back up again. It is also possible that you could have many negative side effects from so much antibiotic usage, including:

  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Gut flora imbalance (which could cause digestive problems, skin problems, mood problems, etc.)
  • Nausea/upset stomach


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Why do I keep getting so many urinary tract infections? ›

Recurrent UTIs (RUTI) are mainly caused by reinfection by the same pathogen. Having frequent sexual intercourse is one of the greatest risk factors for RUTIs. In a subgroup of individuals with coexisting morbid conditions, complicated RUTIs can lead to upper tract infections or urosepsis.

How do I stop recurring urinary tract infections? ›

How to Prevent Recurrent UTIs
  1. Tip #1: Stay well-hydrated. ...
  2. Tip #2: Urinate regularly. ...
  3. Tip #3: Wipe from front to back. ...
  4. Tip #4: Go to the bathroom after having sex. ...
  5. Tip #5: Take showers rather than baths. ...
  6. Tip #6: Avoid using douches and other products. ...
  7. Tip #7: Wear cotton panties. ...
  8. Tip #8: Consider preventive antibiotics.

What will a urologist do for recurrent UTIs? ›

In order to treat recurring UTIs, a urologist typically makes an attempt to identify the underlying reasons why this is happening. Testing may involve a cystoscopy, a CT scan of the urinary tract, and a urine culture.

What is the strongest natural antibiotic for UTI? ›

Cranberry juice is one of the most well-established natural treatments for UTIs. People also use it to clear other infections and speed wound recovery. 2020 research into the effectiveness of cranberries for UTIs has found it to be effective.

How often is too many UTIs? ›

(3) When a UTI occurs more than twice in six months, or three or more times in one year, it is considered to be a recurrent urinary infection, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Why won't my UTI go away with antibiotics? ›

There are three primary reasons that this may happen: an antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria is causing your UTI. another type of bacteria, fungi, or virus may be causing your infection. your UTI may be another condition that has UTI-like symptoms.

Why do I keep getting UTIs even when I pee? ›

Having a suppressed immune system or chronic health condition can make you more prone to recurring infections, including UTIs. Diabetes increases your risk for a UTI, as does having certain autoimmune diseases, neurological diseases and kidney or bladder stones.

Is there a pill to prevent UTI? ›

The drug methenamine (which is not an antibiotic) could be as effective as antibiotics at preventing urinary tract infections. A recent study included women who had frequent infections of the urinary tract (the organs involved in peeing).

What probiotic helps with UTI? ›

The use of probiotics, especially lactobacilli, has been considered for the prevention of UTIs. Since lactobacilli dominate the urogenital flora of healthy premenopausal women, it has been suggested that restoration of the urogenital flora, which is dominated by uropathogens, with lactobacilli may protect against UTIs.

What naturally kills a UTI? ›

  • DON'T “HOLD IT”. ...
  • EAT GARLIC. ...

What is the best drink for a UTI? ›

Water is by far the best beverage choice for someone with a UTI. Drinking at least 12 8-ounce cups of water each day while you have an infection will help flush the bacteria from your system and can speed up the healing process.

Can you get a UTI from fingers? ›

Girls can have vaginal infections for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with sexual contact — such as stress, for example. Even if you're not having intercourse, fingering and oral sex can lead to infection. Ask your boyfriend to wash his hands before touching your genitals.

Should I see a urologist for recurrent UTI? ›

Primarily, urologists are specially trained in all conditions affecting the urinary tract. In addition, for those with repeated UTIs—which is not uncommon—or if antibiotics don't seem to clear up the problem, seeing a urologist is the best step to finding a cure. Recurring UTIs require further evaluation.

Can azo get rid of UTI? ›

No, AZO Urinary Tract Defense does not cure a urinary tract infection. Its purpose is to keep you comfortable and to control the infection until you can see your primary care provider. Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic medication capable of eliminating the bacteria responsible for the infection.

What is the best antibiotic for a stubborn UTI? ›

Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) or levofloxacin (Levaquin)

These types of antibiotics work slightly better than amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate, cefdinir, and cephalexin. But the risk of serious side effects is higher. Healthcare providers usually save these antibiotics for more complicated or severe types of UTIs.

Are UTI contagious from toilet seats? ›

Generally speaking, these infections aren't contagious. It's highly unlikely for anyone to contract a UTI from a toilet seat, because the urethra in males and females wouldn't touch the toilet seat.

When I pee it tingles at the end? ›

The most well-known and easily recognizable symptom of a UTI is pain or discomfort when urinating. Oftentimes, this pain manifests itself as a tingling or burning sensation, and such pain indicates there is bacteria in the urethra.

How do you get rid of a UTI in 24 hours without antibiotics? ›

What are your options for UTI treatment at home?
  1. Stay hydrated. Drinking lots of fluids helps your body make urine. ...
  2. Urinate frequently. Going to the bathroom frequently can help clear the bacteria from your bladder and urethra.
  3. Use heat. Gentle heat can reduce abdominal pain and discomfort.
Mar 1, 2023

What feels like a UTI but isn't a UTI? ›

Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS)

PBS is not caused by an infection, but it can feel like a urinary tract infection or UTI. Painful bladder syndrome is also referred to as bladder pain syndrome and interstitial cystitis.

Does frequent urination flush out UTI? ›

Urinating often when you have a UTI can reduce the risk of a worsening infection. This happens because urination puts pressure on the bacteria. The longer you hold urine, the higher the risk for bacteria to build up in your system. Make sure to use the restroom as soon as possible if the urge arises.

What vitamins should I take to prevent UTI? ›

Vitamin C prevents bacteria from growing by making urine more acidic. You can take a 500- to 1,000-milligram daily vitamin C supplement. You can add vitamin C-rich foods to your diet, like oranges, lemons, grapefruit, strawberries, and leafy green vegetables.

What supplement is good for preventing UTI? ›

Primary Supplements

The most commonly used supplements to help prevent a urine infection are cranberry, D-mannose, and vitamin C.

Which fruits are good for urine infection? ›

Cranberries, blueberries, raspberries and other berries promote urinary tract health and provide protection against infection with an important compound that helps fight bacteria and keeps it from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract.

What is the fastest way to get rid of a bladder infection? ›

Most bladder infections are treated with antibiotics. This is the fastest way to get rid of a bladder infection.

What are bladder irritant foods? ›

You should start by eliminating, or at least cutting down, on the top seven irritants: coffee, tea, cola drinks, chocolate, alcohol, artificial sweeteners and cigarettes. You should allow at least two weeks without the food or drink before noticing any change in your bladder control.

What food kills UTI bacteria? ›

Fermented foods, such as kefir, kimchi, and probiotic yogurt are all good sources, and so are dark, leafy vegetables (like spinach and kale) and mushrooms. There are other supplements you can take to help you battle regular UTIs: Garlic extract has been found to have antimicrobial properties.

What not to do with UTI? ›

Avoid consuming foods and beverages that can irritate your bladder or worsen your symptoms, such as:
  • Caffeinated coffee.
  • Caffeinated sodas.
  • Alcohol.
  • Spicy foods.
  • Acidic fruits.
  • Artificial sweeteners.
Mar 9, 2018

Is apple cider vinegar good for urinary tract infections? ›

Although ACV has antibacterial and antifungal properties, there's no scientific evidence to suggest that drinking it can effectively treat or prevent UTIs. In fact, most health experts don't think that what you eat or drink can prevent or treat a UTI.

What can I drink to detox my UTI? ›

Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice is one of the most well-known natural remedies for UTIs. If drinking unsweetened cranberry juice isn't your thing, you can also take it in capsule form. Cranberries work by helping to prevent bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract.

Is lemon water good for urine infection? ›

Lemon juice

It also acts as a diuretic agent that flushes out harmful toxins from the urinary tract thereby preventing the recurrence of UTI. To use this remedy, squeeze half a lemon in a glass of warm water and drink it in the morning to get rid of UTIs.

What drinks triggers UTI? ›

Drinking soda and coffee may increase your risk for UTIs and irritate your bladder. Staying hydrated and consuming freshly squeezed juice and fermented dairy may help reduce UTI risk.

What is the hardest infection to get rid of? ›

Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

Probably the most famous hospital-acquired infection or 'superbug', MRSA is so-called because of its resistance to the antibiotic methicillin (hence Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureas).

What pulls out infections? ›

A poultice has been a popular home remedy for the treatment for abscesses for centuries. The moist heat from a poultice can help to draw out the infection and help the abscess shrink and drain naturally. An Epsom salt poultice is a common choice for treating abscesses in humans and animals.

When should I be worried about a recurrent UTI? ›

If you continue to notice blood in your urine or if your symptoms persist after a course of antibiotics for a UTI, it may be a sign of something more, like bladder cancer. Bladder cancer symptoms are almost identical to those of a bladder infection.

What can mimic a UTI in a woman? ›

Several other infectious and non-infectious disease processes can cause symptoms that mimic a UTI. These include conditions such as vaginitis, overactive bladder, and kidney stones; some sexually transmitted infections (STIs); and diseases such as bladder cancer.

How can you tell the difference between a UTI and a bladder infection? ›

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) include bladder infections, but bladder infections are distinct from UTIs in general. A UTI affects one or more parts of the urinary tract. The parts include the kidneys, ureters, urethra, and bladder. An infection that affects only the bladder is known as a bladder infection.

Can dehydration cause urinary tract infections? ›

“Patients can experience more UTIs during the summer due to inadequate fluid intake, especially in the historic heat waves we've been experiencing,” said Dr. Carmel, a urology specialist at UTSW, ranked No. 11 in the nation for urology care by U.S. News & World Report. “Dehydration is a leading risk factor for UTIs.”

What sleeping position is best for UTI? ›

Best UTI Sleeping Position? The most comfortable sleeping position for anybody struggling with a UTI would be any that put the least pressure on your pelvic muscles, such as the foetal position, or if you prefer sleeping on your back, spreading your legs apart.

What are four symptoms of cystitis? ›

The main symptoms of cystitis include:
  • pain, burning or stinging when you pee.
  • needing to pee more often and urgently than normal.
  • urine that's dark, cloudy or strong smelling.
  • pain low down in your tummy.
  • feeling generally unwell, achy, sick and tired.

When I pee it hurts at the end? ›

Pain can occur at the start of urination or after urination. Pain at the start of your urination is often a symptom of a urinary tract infection. Pain after your urination can be a sign of a problem with the bladder or prostate.

Can you get a UTI from getting soap in your urethra? ›

The infection may be from a sexually transmitted infection (STI). But other things can also cause it. These things include irritation from soap, lotion, deodorant, or spermicides.

Can sperm cause urinary tract infections? ›

Sometimes after not having any sex for a long time, the vaginal flora may be thrown out of balance chemically (yes, sperm has a chemical makeup), increasing your risk of UTIs (especially if your vaginal immune system is already weakened)- some studies show increased bacteria in the urine after intercourse.


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