ZocdocAnswersHow do I prevent a UTI from reoccuring?

Question

How do I prevent a UTI from reoccuring?

I'm a 29 year old female. In July I began dating my current boyfriend, two months later I got a UTI that was so sever there was blood in my urine. Over the past 6 months I have had 3 more UTI's. I've taken antibiotics, homeopathic meds, herbs, you name it. Everytime I treat it the infection goes away, but seems to keep coming back. I'm very good at drinking a lot of water, I never hold my urine when I know I need to go, I urinate after intercourse to wash away bacteria yet no matter how much I try the infection seems to find it way back into my life. What can I do?

Answer

Recurrent urinary tract infections are a common complaint. Especially in women of your age, this is a frequent problem. I recommend that you see your primary care doctor to discuss this. In general, a woman's anatomy predisposes women to infections. The urethra (the flow tract from the bladder to the outside) is very short and therefore it is easy for bacteria to get from the outside to the bladder (known as an ascending infection). In general, hygiene is important. One thing we teach young girls is that it is important to wipe after defecation from front to back (not back to front) to keep fecal bacteria from getting to the urethra. Men have much longer urethras (in the penis) therefore are less likely to get infected. The other common suggestions we make are what you are already doing. After sex (post coital) urinary tract infections are very common. Urinating before and after intercourse is important to limit the standing urine that can become infected. The two things I would discuss with your doctor is (a) is there a chance you have a renal abscess (the same bug is in the kidney so constantly infects you and (b) if suppressive antibiotics are needed. Many people with recurrent infections simply need to take antibiotics every day or after every sexual encounter to prevent infections. Please talk to your doctor.

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