The pain of a urinary tract infection (UTI) is bad enough, but the need to be within steps of a bathroom is no small hassle to deal with either. If you find yourself with frequent UTIs, you want to do all that you can to avoid the problem in the first place.
To help, Dr. Denise Furlong and our team here at Chicago Center for Women’s Health have pulled together a list of the most common factors that place you at risk for frequent UTIs.
So if you’re trying to figure out why you keep getting UTIs and whether there’s anything you can do to limit or prevent them, read on.
UTIs beyond your control
First, let’s discuss a few reasons why you may be getting frequent UTIs that are beyond your control to change. For starters, women are more susceptible to UTIs because their urethras are shorter, which makes it easier for bacteria to gain access to their bladders.
If you are transitioning through menopause, you may also experience more UTIs because the decline in estrogen contributes to changes in your urinary tract that leave you more prone to infection.
While not terribly common, some people have structural issues in their urinary tracts that cause urine to back up and infections to take hold.
Changes you can make to avoid UTIs
While there are some circumstances that are beyond your control when it comes to UTIs, there are also many factors that you can mitigate.
For example, frequent intercourse is a known risk factor for UTIs because sex can introduce more bacteria into and around your vaginal canal. Those bacteria can then make their way up your urethra and into your bladder.
To offset this, we recommend that you urinate shortly after intercourse to flush out excess bacteria.
We also advise that you not wait to urinate, but go when you first feel the urge. When you hold your urine, you’re allowing bacteria more of an opportunity to cause an infection, so we suggest that you flush your bladder regularly and as needed.
A related step is to drink plenty of water if you’ve had UTIs before, as this is the best way to keep your urinary tract clean and flushed out.
Another problem might be your birth control method. If you use spermicides, for example, you might be killing off good bacteria, which allows the bad bacteria more opportunity to cause an infection.
If you use spermicide and you also get frequent UTIs, we should find another birth control option for you.
While we put menopause under the heading above (UTIs beyond your control), if you’re experiencing frequent and problematic post-menopausal UTIs, vaginal estrogen therapy may help.
If you experience UTIs regularly and the risk factors we outline above don’t seem to apply or you’re experiencing a UTI now, please contact one of our locations in Oak Lawn or Bedford Park, Illinois, so we can resolve the issue.