Jump to content

Urinary Tract Infections - 5 Things You Should Know

UTI infection womens health


If you’re one of the millions of women who have had a urinary tract infection (UTI), you know how uncomfortable they can be. Symptoms like pain, burning, or constantly feeling the urge to go to the bathroom can interfere with your daily life.


The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services estimates about half of women will get a UTI at some point in their lives. So, whether it’s your first UTI or you’ve had many, here are 5 things to know about this common condition.



Some factors put you more at risk


Unfortunately, simply being female puts you more at risk for a UTI. The female anatomy makes women more prone to this type of infection. You may also have a greater chance of UTIs if:


  • You’re going through menopause.
  • You are currently pregnant.
  • You’re sexually active.
  • You use certain types of birth control, like diaphragms or condoms with spermicide.
  • You have a condition that makes it harder for your body to fight infections, such as diabetes.


The Urology Care Foundation says there’s also evidence of a genetic link to UTIs. Some women have urinary tracts that make it easier for bacteria to stick to them.



There are different types of UTIs


Most often, UTIs are in your bladder or urethra. However, the term UTI also includes kidney infections. An infection in your kidney can happen when a bladder infection is left untreated, causing it to spread. Kidney infections can be more serious than other types of UTIs, so that’s why early treatment of UTI symptoms is important.


While E. coli most commonly causes UTIs, other types of bacteria may also cause an infection. Depending on your condition, your doctor may test your urine to help identify the specific bacteria in your system.  



Prevention can help reduce your risk


You can’t always prevent a UTI. But you can take steps to make them less likely. The Office on Women’s Health suggests drinking plenty of water, going to the bathroom often, wearing cotton underwear, and urinating before and after having sex.


Some women choose to drink cranberry juice or use other cranberry products. Research has shown mixed results with this option. So talk to your OB GYN before you rely on cranberry to reduce your risk of UTIs. 



Get your symptoms checked


It may be tempting to ignore your symptoms or hope they go away on their own. But, in most cases, UTIs need treatment. It’s better to get the infection cleared up before it has a chance to develop into something more serious. Your OB GYN will likely recommend you take an antibiotic to fight it off.


There’s also a chance your symptoms aren’t from a UTI at all. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says you should see a doctor in order to decide if a UTI—or some other illness—is causing your symptoms.



Talk to your OB GYN if you keep getting UTIs

If you’ve had one UTI, it’s not unusual to get another. An article in Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology says 1 in 5 women who have a UTI will have more than 3 UTI recurrences a year. If you’re struggling with UTIs that keep coming back, it’s time to talk to your OB GYN.


Your doctor can talk to you about risk, lifestyle, and other factors to help decide why you may be prone to UTIs. He or she may suggest treatment options like taking antibiotics as a preventive measure.


In the end, it’s important to remember that the vast majority of UTIs are treatable. And, if you’re getting recurring UTIs, you have options. With the help of your OB GYN, you can find relief.


Read More Articles About Diseases and Disorders