Why Do I Keep Getting UTIs? Top 7 Reasons!

A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is a very common infection that has unpleasant symptoms. These infections can be extremely frustrating and uncomfortable, especially when they’re recurrent.

If you’re wondering why you keep getting UTIs and what you can do to prevent them, we’re here to give you some clarity. In this article, we’ll go through the most common causes of UTIs to help you reduce your risk of getting one again.

Table of Contents

1. Dehydration

The removal of microorganisms from your urinary tract by peeing lowers your risk of infection. If you don’t urinate often enough, bacteria may have a chance to develop.

Urine production requires drinking fluids. If you don’t drink enough, you might not produce enough urine. You should therefore make an effort to drink water throughout the day.

Most adults require six to eight 8-ounce glasses of liquid per day to be hydrated. The best option for avoiding dehydration is water because the caffeine in soda and coffee might actually make it worse.

2. Sexual Activity

Sex, particularly for women, increases the risk of UTIs. Bacteria could be carried into the urethra during sexual contact. Even though you can’t stop it from happening, you can take steps to prevent UTIs after sex and lessen the amount of bacteria by urinating as soon as you can after intercourse.

It’s also beneficial to maintain good hygiene before and after sexual activity. Before and after intercourse, wash your hands and fingers as well as your genital area. Sex toys should be cleaned both before and after use as well.

3. Wiping Wrong

It’s essential to wipe after using the bathroom because a woman’s urethra is so short and situated so close to the anus and vagina. This reduces the possibility of feces or bacteria entering the urethra from the anus. Before pulling your underwear back up, it’s also important to ensure you’re clean and dry.

Always wipe from front to back for the best personal hygiene. Use fresh paper or fold the toilet paper back over if you need to wipe again.

4. Holding Your Pee

You may not always be able to urinate when you need to because of where you are or what you are doing. Holding it occasionally won’t likely harm your health, but holding it frequently can increase your risk of getting a urinary tract infection. 

By peeing less frequently, it means that your body isn’t flushing out harmful microbes. So when the urge arises, find the nearest bathroom and relieve yourself to help prevent getting a UTI.

5. Bladder-Irritating Foods

If you experience bladder sensitivity, it can be made worse by bladder-irritating food and drink in your diet. Inflammation of the bladder can increase your risk of bacteria in the urethra, which can then cause a UTI. 

Try avoiding these foods and drinks if you are prone to bladder irritation:

  • Soda
  • Coffee
  • Sugar
  • Vinegar
  • Tea
  • Fruits
  • Spicy food
  • Dairy products
  • Alcohol
  • Artificial sweeteners

6. Compromised Immune System

Immune system deficits increase the risk of UTI development. The body’s built-in protection against microorganisms is the immune system. When it isn’t functioning properly, you can’t effectively fight against infections. 

You may have a compromised immune system if you:

  • Have an autoimmune disease, such as lupus or HIV
  • Smoke
  • Take certain medications, like corticosteroids
  • Are diabetic
  • Are having cancer treatment
  • Recently had an organ transplant.

7. Irritation

You may develop a UTI if the tissue lining your urethra swells due to irritation. This makes the passage from the bladder more restricted, which makes it easier for germs to become trapped. Here are a few things that might cause irritation: 

Treating Recurrent UTIs

When you visit your doctor regarding UTIs and have an active infection, you’ll probably get a course of full-strength antibiotics to get rid of the bacteria already present.

Even if your symptoms go away before you run out of pills, you must take all of the medication provided to you in order to get rid of the infection. Your doctor might then recommend low-dose antibiotics to lower the risk of recurring infections once you are clear of an acute infection.

In addition to providing medication, your doctor might advise making lifestyle adjustments like:

  • Changing your diet
  • Changing your hygiene routine
  • Peeing more often and after sex
  • Wearing cotton underwear
  • Drinking more water
  • Discontinuing scented hygiene products

How Can DrHouse Help You?

A recurrent UTI can be very frustrating and difficult to manage. At DrHouse, we have a team of medical professionals who are here to help you take control of your health and help you manage and treat your UTIs.

We offer on-demand online doctor visits around the clock so you can receive convenient and personalized treatment for your UTI symptoms. Our doctors will be able to assess your condition and provide you with a diagnosis and a treatment plan, and if necessary, prescribe medication online.

Our team is here to help you get on the path toward better health and will provide all the support and resources you need to keep your UTIs under control.

Final Thoughts

UTIs are annoying infections that can interrupt your daily life, however, they can be easily treated and prevented with a few simple lifestyle changes. With this guide, you’ll be able to combat UTIs and reduce the risk of contracting one.

Sources:

  • Urinary Tract Infections. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/uti.html 
  • Foxman, B. The epidemiology of urinary tract infection. Nat Rev Urol 7, 653–660 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrurol.2010.190 
  • Foxman B, Frerichs RR. Epidemiology of urinary tract infection: II. Diet, clothing, and urination habits. Am J Public Health. 1985 Nov;75(11):1314-7. doi: 10.2105/ajph.75.11.1314
  • Aggarwal N, Lotfollahzadeh S. Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections. [Updated 2022 Dec 3]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557479/ 
  • Thomas M Hooton, Recurrent urinary tract infection in women, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, Volume 17, Issue 4, 2001, Pages 259-268, ISSN 0924-8579. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0924-8579(00)00350-2
  • Annette Epp, Annick Larochelle, Danny Lovatsis, Jens-Erik Walter, William Easton, Annette Epp, Scott A. Farrell, Lise Girouard, Chander Gupta, Marie-Andrée Harvey, Annick Larochelle, Magali Robert, Sue Ross, Joyce Schachter, Jane A. Schulz, David Wilkie, William Ehman, Sharon Domb, Andrée Gagnon, Owen Hughes, Jill Konkin, Joanna Lynch, Cindy Marshall, Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection, Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, Volume 32, Issue 11, 2010, Pages 1082-1090, ISSN 1701-2163. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/S1701-2163(16)34717-X

DrHouse articles are written by MDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. The contents of the DrHouse site are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.

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