Reasons Why You Keep Getting UTIs and How to Treat Them(2/4)

By Rumi Samuel Published on May 29, 2022
Reasons Why You Keep Getting UTIs and How to Treat Them(2/4)

Unless you're in the fortunate minority of women who have never had a urinary tract infection (UTI), you know the symptoms well. You might feel a frequent urgency to urinate yet pass little urine when you go. Your urine might be cloudy, blood-tinged, and strong-smelling for 25% to 30% of women who've had a urinary tract infection, the infection returns within six months.

If you have repeated UTIs, you've experienced the toll they take on your life. However, you may take some comfort in knowing that they aren't likely to result from anything you've done. "Recurrent UTIs aren't due to poor hygiene or something else women have brought on themselves. Some women are just prone to UTIs," says infectious diseases specialist Dr Kalpana Gupta, a lecturer in medicine at Harvard Medical School.

You are going through menopause

Menopause results in thinning of the vaginal tissue and an increase in the pH of the vagina, Yun says.

This causes a change in the vaginal flora or the bacteria in the vagina, which can increase your risk of getting UTIs. Yun says that applying topical vaginal estrogen, such as estrogen cream, is helpful to combat this.

Furthermore, menopause may also be associated with incontinence and incomplete emptying of the bladder, putting you at greater risk for UTIs.

You use a diaphragm

Diaphragms are shallow silicone cups inserted into the vagina as a form of
birth control

. They are used with spermicide, which prevents sperm from fertilising an egg.

Diaphragms and spermicides may also cause a change in normal vaginal flora, allowing colonisation of bacteria that is more likely to cause UTIs, Yun says. Additionally, a diaphragm that's too large could obstruct the urinary tract; however, this is a less likely cause.

Bathroom habits

Because a woman’s urethra is so short and close to the vagina and anus, it’s important to wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom. This lessens the risk of any faecal matter or bacteria moving from the anus into the urethra. It’s also essential to make sure you are clean and dry before pulling your underwear back up. Any faecal matter or bacteria can land on the underwear and spread as the underwear moves as you walk, sit, exercise, etc.

Rumi Samuel

Rumi Samuel

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