Ok ladies – we already know that UTIs are inevitable if you have a vagina, but for 25% to 30% of women who've already had a urinary tract infection, the infection returns within six months. Sigh. Getting one is bad enough but getting them repeatedly or back to back can really put a damper on your life. If this sounds like it has happened to you, there are some techniques that can make the vicious cycle stop. But before we get into that, let's find out why they can occur in the first place.
Possible Reasons Recurrent UTIs Happen
Don't believe the myth that poor hygiene is a cause for multiple UTIs. The fact is that some women are just prone to UTIs (thanks to genetics), and risk factors vary with age. Here are some possibilities:
- Antibiotics: These are prescribed to treat a bacterial infection, but when taking them, you are at risk of also wiping out the good bacteria with the bad. Aside from also causing yeast infections, antibiotics can work against our natural biofilm, a network of microorganisms that stick to the bladder walls and act as a shield for certain bacteria. When bacteria protected by biofilm are killed, a recurring UTI is born. This type of UTI is caused by bacteria from the initial infection that never cleared. It is also super important to finish your meds, or you'll run the risk of not properly killing off the infection in the first place. If left untreated, complications can cause more severe conditions, including bladder or kidney infections.
- Sex: Yes, this is a not-so-sexy part, but sexual intercourse can bring unwanted bacteria into the vagina and urinary tract. And if you use spermicides, it may kill off Lactobacilli, the good bacteria, making it easier for an infection to occur. Bacteria can be found on fingers, sex toys, penis', etc. We know that showering every time before hitting the sheets is not going to happen, but experts advise women to pee before and after sex to help flush them out. Oh, and bag it up. Condoms help contain the spread of bacteria.
- Menopause: We all must face the reality that aging will occur. This brings certain physical changes that help set the stage for UTIs and increases the risk factor. The amount of Lactobacilli in the vagina naturally declines, and the bladder contracts less than it once did, making it more difficult to completely empty. If urine is left in the bladder too long, bacteria can grow and cause recurrent UTIs.
- Vaginal pH: If anything throws off your vaginal pH levels, it can cause the body not to fight off the bad bacteria properly. This can happen after workouts, sitting in a wet bathing suit too long, medications, etc.
There you have it. Keeping your vagina happy may seem challenging, but once you get into the swing of things, these tips will help control and minimize the occurrence of UTIs. Drinking water and staying hydrated is the number one recommendation for everyone, but for more valuable tips, check out our guide to help prevent UTIs and make them a thing of the past! Supplements can also help in prevention. If you are prone to recurrent UTIs, evidence shows that D-mannose and cranberry powder help prevent bacteria from sticking to your vaginal walls. Checkable Urinary Tract Balance provides all of the nutrients needed to keep UTIs away.