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Healthy Her | Urinary Tract Infections

Healthy Her | Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacteria that get into the bladder. Women are more prone to getting urinary tract infections compared to men because our urinary tracts are shorter. A study in the American Journal of Medicine states that women get UTIs up to 30 times more often than men do.

Some women are more at risk to get a UTI such as women who:

  • Are pregnant - Pregnancy can cause women to have trouble completely emptying the bladder, leading to UTIs
  • Have gone through menopause - After menopause lower estrogen causes the vaginal tissue to become thin and dry. This makes it easier for harmful bacteria to grow.
  • Have kidney stones - Kidney stones block the flow of urine between the kidneys and the bladder.
  • Use spermicides for birth control - Spermicides kill the good bacteria that protect you from UTIs.
  • Are sexually active- Sexual activities can introduce harmful bacteria to the urinary tract.
  • Have issues with incontinence - Bladder or bowel incontinence impacts hygiene and can increase the number of harmful bacteria.

Common symptoms of UTIs include,

  • Pain or burning while urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling the need to urinate despite having an empty bladder
  • Bloody urine
  • Pressure or cramping in the groin or lower abdomen

It is important to seek treatment with a healthcare provider, such as a primary care provider or OB-GYN, if you are exhibiting symptoms of a UTI. If left untreated, the infection could spread to other parts of the body. Sometimes other illnesses, such as sexually transmitted diseases, have similar symptoms to UTIs. Your provider will reach the correct diagnosis and prescribe an appropriate treatment plan. To find a physician near you, visit

Lastly, you can take the following steps to help prevent UTIs.

  • Emptying your bladder appropriately - Do not wait longer than 3-4 hours to urinate. Bacteria can develop in the bladder the longer you resist the urge.
  • Try to urinate after sex - This can help clear your urinary tract of bacteria introduced during sex.
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Practice good daily hygiene - Clean your outer genital areas and anus with mild antibacterial soap.
  • Do not douche or use feminine hygiene sprays - The inside of the vagina is self-cleaning and does not require anything other than mild soap and water.
  • Wear breathable cotton underwear - Spandex underwear, or tight-fitting clothing can harbor moisture increasing bacteria risk.
  • Change out of bathing suits and work out apparel
  • Limit soaking in the bath tub
  • Make sure you wipe front to back
  • Empty your bladder without straining - Are you straining? Not sure? Talk to your doctor about pelvic floor therapy! They can teach you techniques to improve your pelvic floor and bladder health. Learn more about Infirmary Therapy Services by clicking here.