February 22, 2021

Why Do I Keep Getting UTIs?

If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), you’re probably well acquainted with the symptoms, which include:

  • Frequent and urgent urination
  • Pain while urinating
  • Cloudy urine
  • Smelly urine

Both men and women can get UTIs, but women are 14 times more likely to get one. You may be concerned if you frequently get UTIs, but it’s not uncommon. Below, we’ll elaborate further on frequent UTIs, whether they can come back, what’s considered a recurrent UTI, and some of the reasons why you might be experiencing recurrent UTIs.

Can a UTI Come Back?

Yes. A UTI that comes back is called a recurrent UTI. One in five women experiences recurrent UTIs. 

What’s Considered a Recurrent UTI?

A recurrent UTU is an infection that occurs two or more times within six months, or at least three times a year. Men can get recurrent UTIs as well, but it’s not that common and is usually due to a blockage in the urinary tract.

What Causes Recurrent UTIs in Women? 

There are many reasons why women can get recurring UTIs, which will be outlined below.

1. Anatomy

Women are more prone to UTIs than men because a woman’s urethra is shorter than a man’s. It’s also located near the openings of the vagina and anus, which provides more opportunity for bacteria to spread to the urethra. Once bacteria’s in the urethra, it only has to travel a short distance to travel to the bladder and cause an infection.

2. Age

Post-menopausal women are at a higher risk for UTIs because pH changes in the vagina make it more susceptible to infection. Both men and women are more likely to get UTIs as they age because certain medical conditions can cause incomplete bladder emptying.

3. Sexual Activity

Sexually active women are more prone to recurrent UTIs. Sex can move around the bacteria in the vagina and make it more likely to end up in the urethra, which can lead to a UTI. Doctors recommend urinating after sex to push any bacteria out. 

4. Bathroom Wiping Habits

Because a woman’s urethra is short and close to the vagina and anus, you should always wipe from front to back when going to the bathroom. This makes it less likely for fecal matter to move from the anus to the urethra.

5. Pre-Existing Health Issues

If you have a suppressed immune system or chronic health condition, you can be more prone to recurring infections, including UTIs. Diabetes increases your risk for a UTI, as does having certain autoimmune diseases, neurological diseases, and kidney or bladder stones. 

Learn More About Recurring UTIs with Baptist Health

If you’re experiencing recurrent UTIs, find a Urology Care Provider near you.

Learn More.