What Are the Possible Reasons for Getting Recurrent UTI's (Urinary Tract Infections)?
One of the most common reasons for getting a UTI is having sex.
The female urethra is short, and located right above the opening to the vagina. With sex, bacteria from the vagina are easily introduced into the urethra. Once bacteria enter the bladder and are not readily flushed out, a UTI can begin.
New onset sexual activity or more frequent sex may be the cause, hence the name “honeymoon cystitis.” Other reasons for getting a UTI include vaginal dryness due to lack of estrogen as in menopausal women- with estrogen, the urethra closes, or coapts well, however, with lack of estrogen, the urethra can gape open, allowing bacteria to enter. Holding urine for long periods of time can allow bacteria to grow, increasing the risk of UTI, along with certain structural abnormalities of the urinary tract.
How can I decrease my chances of getting more UTI's?
Emptying your bladder before, and especially right after sex is very important. This way, bacteria that have been introduced into the bladder during sexual intercourse are readily flushed out with prompt urination, therefore decreasing the chances that bacteria will grow in the bladder and cause a UTI.
For women who do this and still get frequent UTIs, taking a cranberry/vitamin C tablet over the counter every day decreases the risk of a UTI by acidifying the urine and decreasing the chances of bacteria adhering to the bladder wall.
If this doesn't work, some women will be given postcoital antibiotics (take one antibiotic pill after every act of intercourse) in addition to the other recommendations to decrease the risk of UTI. If lack of estrogen is the problem in the menopausal woman, administration of a topical estrogen preparation is safe and easy, in the form of either vagifem tablets, the Estring, or topical vaginal estrogen cream (estrace or premarin). If UTIs still occur despite all of these interventions, then evaluation by a urologist is necessary.
**Have Questions About Your UTI's? **
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