ZocdocAnswersWhy do urinary tract infections keep happening to me?

Question

Why do urinary tract infections keep happening to me?

I eat well and exercise and have safe sex. Why all the UTIs?

Answer

Recurrent UTIs are a common complaint. Especially in women, this can be a troubling problem. There are many possible explanations, and many possible treatments that one can try. I would recommend that you discuss this with your primary care doctor. Women often experience Urinary Tract Infections or UTIs. The reason for this is that the urethra (the connection from the outside to the bladder) is relatively short in women (as compared with men where the urethra travels the length of the penis). As such, it is a short journey for the bacteria that live in the colon/rectum/anus to travel to the bladder and cause an infection. One cause of recurrent infections is that bacteria keep getting pushed from the anus to the urethra. For this reason, we recommend women wipe front to back (NOT back to front) after having a bowel movement. The other major cause of recurrent infections is the entry of bacteria with sex. Therefore, emptying your bladder right before and right after sex can help prevent this. Some women as they age get more UTIs as they go through menopause -- which can also be treated with estrogen creams. Some women require prophylactic antibiotics as their anatomy just keeps allowing UTIs. Talk to your doctor. Good luck!

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