There’s no doubt about it: Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, can make you feel pretty miserable. To make matters worse, once you’ve had one UTI, you’re more likely to have another. About 25-30% of women who have had a UTI are likely to have another one within six months.
However, you can take action to try to prevent your next UTI from happening. Here, Dr. Ruchir Thakkar of Cermak Immediate Care explains more about what causes repeated UTIs and how to prevent them.
The causes of UTIs
Women are much more likely than men to get a UTI. A big part of this is because of the differences between the male and female anatomy.
As a woman, the opening of your urethra (the tube responsible for transporting urine from your bladder out of your body) is much closer to your anus, which presents the possibility of introducing bacteria into your urinary tract.
Some causes make UTIs more likely to occur, including:
- E. coli infections of the urethra or the bladder
- Sexual activity
- Certain types of birth control
- Obstructions within the urinary tract, like kidney stones
- Catheter use
- A suppressed immune system, such as having diabetes
If you leave a urinary tract infection alone, sometimes it may go away on its own, but other times, the bacteria can spread to your bladder, which can become much more serious.
Symptoms of UTIs
UTIs create a state of inflammation in your body. Some of the symptoms of a UTI include the following:
- Feeling a persistent need to urinate
- Burning feeling while urinating
- Lower back pain
- Urinating frequently but often passing little amounts
- Urine that appears cloudy
- Pink urine, which can indicate blood in your urinary tract
- Strong-smelling urine
- Pelvic pain in women
If you have symptoms of a UTI, you need to get a urine culture to determine which type of treatment is best for you.
Why UTIs are likely to return
Unfortunately, if you get a UTI, you’re likely to get another. Here’s why:
- Some UTIs are antibiotic-resistant
- Your birth control method makes them more likely, such as using spermicides
- You have sex but don’t urinate quickly afterward
- You’re perimenopausal or menopausal (declining estrogen makes UTIs more likely)
- You wipe from back to front
You can prevent many UTIs from recurring by wiping from front to back, urinating after having sex, and keeping up with drinking plenty of water every day. Some people also find it beneficial to take cranberry pills or drink cranberry juice.
Sometimes, UTIs go away on their own, especially if you drink lots of fluids. However, if you have a fever, chills, or nausea, you need to come in for help. Fortunately, you can get a walk-in appointment at any time at Cermak Immediate Care. Contact us at our Cicero or Chicago, Illinois, location today.