Anyone who has ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI) can speak firsthand about what a painful and irritating experience it can be. Although men can get UTIs as well, they are far more prevalent in women. According to the National Kidney Foundation, 1 in every 5 women will have a UTI at some point in her life, making it one of the most common infections for women. To help our readers prevent these unfortunate infections before they occur, our gynecological health providers have taken time to outline the most common causes of urinary tract infections.
Having Vaginal Intercourse
Many UTIs occur as a result of having sex. During intercourse, bacteria can be transferred from the bowel or vaginal cavity into the urethra. We recommend emptying your bladder within 30 minutes of having sex to help lower your risk of getting a UTI.
Holding in Your Pee
Holding in our urine for extended periods of time (6 hours or more) can increase your risk of a UTI. When your bladder is full for this long, harmful bacteria have more time to overgrow and cause an infection. Even while traveling or when it may seem inconvenient, it’s important to go if you feel the need to do so.
Certain Forms of Birth Control
Switching forms of birth control can create a hormone shift in your body. This shift can alter the bacteria in the vagina, increasing the odds of a UTI. Additionally, using a diaphragm or spermicides may also cause an uptick in UTI risk for some women.
Certain Underwear & Feminine Products
We recommend changing dirty feminine pads and tampons frequently to help avoid UTIs while on your period. The type of underwear you choose matters too. Cotton underwear helps prevent excess moisture that can lead to excess bacterial growth. Avoid thongs with a thin G-string that can transfer bacteria.
In addition to being extremely painful, kidney stones are also commonly responsible for causing UTIs. Kidney stones can block the urinary tract, backing up urine and promoting an environment for bacteria to grow.
The good news is that, while painful, UTIs can be easily treated. Based on the specifics of your infection and medical history, we will prescribe a course of oral antibiotics that can generally take care of a UTI within a week. For more information or if you would like to request an appointment with board-certified gynecologist Dr. Kristine Gould or certified physician assistant Nikki McCann, please contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips and updates, and details on our upcoming Health & Wellness events.