Fact Check - Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
Urinary Tract Infection is an infection of your bladder and urethra. There are bacteria that live around your vagina and butt. When this bacteria sneaks into the bladder or urethra, it can cause an infection. Here are some facts about Urinary Tract Infections.
- Women are likely to get UTIs than men: Women are more likely to get Urinary Tract Infection because of the female anatomy. Since both the vagina and rectum are so close to the urethra, it makes it easier for the bacteria to move from one to another. Women also have shorter urethra than men, so the bacteria have a shorter distance to travel up to the bladder. About 10 in 25 women will experience symptoms of UTI in their lifetime, compared to just 3 in 25 men.
- Sex is one of the biggest causes of UTIs : The bacteria that cause most Urinary Tract Infections, E.Coli, comes from your intestine and ultimately your rectum. During intercourse, all the rubbing, touching and moving of the body parts can easily transfer bacteria from your back to the front and then to the urethra. This is why peeing after sex is important, so you can flush out any bacteria before it has a chance to move up the urinary tract.
- Golden rule- always wipe front to back: if you wipe back to front, you can colonize your urethra (and vagina) with bacteria from your rectum, specifically, E.Coli.
- The most obvious symptoms are a persistent urge to pee, and a painful burning sensation whenever you do: other symptoms can include pelvic pain, only being able to pee a little bit every time, and cloudy or bloody urine. The extreme pain should be enough to prompt you to see a doctor. They can take a urine culture to confirm it’s a UTI, and give you antibiotics to treat it.
- UTIs are riskier during pregnancy and symptoms are less obvious: the psychological changes that happen during pregnancy can sometimes cause UTIs and if left untreated, can lead to a kidney infection. Which can be very serious during pregnancy. You might not experience pain or burning like you normally do, but instead just cramping and dull pain.
- Staying hydrated is great (& easy) preventive medicine: this makes the urine diluted so there is lower concentration of bacteria, making it less likely to cause an infection. It will also make the post sex pee more effective.
- Drinking cranberry juice may help you keep UTI free: according to studies, cranberry juice may be helpful in preventing UTI recurrence. One reason is that cranberries have properties that may actually prevent E.Coli from adhering to cells in the urinary tract.
- Some women are just more prone to getting UTIs than others: if you have more than three UTIs in a year or two in six months, you’re prone to them. Some conditions like diabetes, kidney stones or abnormalities in the urinary tract, can also increase the risk of developing a UTI.