Why Do I Get UTIs So Frequently?

Aug 02, 2023
Why Do I Get UTIs So Frequently?
It burns when you urinate, and your pelvis hurts. You feel sudden urges to go, but not much comes out. If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), once is enough. But brace yourself — you’re likely to get more, and here’s why.

When bacteria sneak into your urinary tract — which starts at your ureters and includes your urethra, bladder, and kidneys — infection sets in and wreaks havoc with your system. Studies show that half of all women have experienced at least one urinary tract infection (UTI), and one is enough to convince you that you never want another. 

The burning sensation when you urinate, the pelvic pain, and the urgent need to go that only results in a painful trickle make UTIs frustrating and sometimes unbearable. Unfortunately, about 26% of women get another UTI within six months of the first, and 89% have a recurrence within a year — but why?

We’re glad you asked because Dr. Amos Ladouceur and our Weekend Urgent Care team in View Park, California, see a lot of UTIs and have some important information that explains recurrent urinary tract infections. We can also help you prevent them from returning repeatedly. 

The reasons you keep getting UTIs

These infections are fairly common because it’s easy for bacteria to enter your system and get trapped inside. However, if you have chronic UTIs — meaning you get three or more yearly — it’s time to see Dr. Ladouceur and get to the bottom of it. Here are some of the factors that may be causing the problem.

You’re a woman

Anyone can get a UTI — adults, children, men, and women. However, women are more likely than men to suffer a UTI because a woman’s urethra is closer to the anus and vagina, two bacteria sources.

Pregnancy causes changes in the urinary tract that also can make UTIs more likely:

  • Your urine contains more proteins, sugar, and hormones
  • Your growing uterus presses on your bladder, so you may not empty it fully
  • Hormones could cause your urine to reflux into your kidneys

Make sure you let your obstetrician know if you’re experiencing frequent UTIs.

In addition, menopause changes the pH level and balance of good and bad bacteria.

You have sex

Sex is a healthy part of human life, but it also increases your chances of getting a UTI because touching and intercourse introduce bacteria into your system. If you use condoms, a diaphragm, or another manual prophylactic method, unclean hands could be the culprit.

Urinating after sex can help flush out bacteria before they take hold. 

You “hold it”

Everyone has been in this situation: You need to go but can’t find a bathroom — so you have to hold it until you can. That’s OK occasionally, but if you hold urine in your system often, you’re setting yourself up for chronic UTIs.

Urinating is your body’s way of flushing out pathogens and waste, so holding it in exposes your urinary tract to countless bacteria for prolonged periods.

You’re dehydrated

Urination efficiently removes microbes from your urinary tract, but only if you have urine. Your body needs plenty of fluids to produce urine, so if you’re dehydrated, you won’t pass enough fluid to flush out the bad guys. 

You eat the wrong foods

Certain foods trigger an inflammatory response and put you at a higher risk for UTIs:

  • Spicy foods
  • Alcohol
  • Soda
  • Sugar
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Dairy products
  • Caffeine

These foods don’t cause UTIs directly, but they can set off a chain reaction that makes UTIs more likely. Fortunately, you can also use your diet to prevent or reduce your risk of UTIs. Citrus juice, for example, can lower your risk by 50%, and a plant-based diet can lower your risk by 16%. 

You’re wiping incorrectly

Yes, there’s a right way to wipe — and a wrong way. If you wipe your bottom from back to front after a bowel movement, you could be introducing E. Coli bacteria from your intestines into your urethra. Wiping from front to back solves the problem.

You’re mistreating your urethra

Chronic UTIs may stem from simple, everyday habits that irritate your urethra and invite bacteria to set up shop. Here are some examples of irritants:

  • Perfumed soaps and body washes
  • Scented tampons or pads
  • Scented powders or sprays used in your vaginal area
  • Douches
  • Scented laundry detergent or fabric softener
  • Tight clothing that rubs against your genitals
  • Catheter use

Solving chronic UTIs could be as simple as avoiding these products and lifestyle habits. For instance, drink plenty of water daily, wear breathable, comfortable clothing, don’t hold it, avoid inflammatory foods, urinate after sex, and wipe correctly. 

However, there are some things you can’t change. Genetics and gender are uncontrollable. Regardless of the cause, however, we can help you resolve recurrent UTIs. 

Dr. Ladouceur prescribes antibiotics to address your infection and may prescribe a low-dose, long-term antibiotic to stop the problem from returning. Don’t suffer from chronic UTIs. Come in to Weekend Urgent Care. You can book an appointment online or call 310-910-7221.