Why Do I Keep Getting UTIs?

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacteria or E.coli in the organs of the urinary tract — the kidneys, ureters, urethra and the bladder. Most UTIs affect the urethra and the bladder alone. While UTIs affect both men and women, the rate of prevalence and recurrence is higher among women, with about 50 percent of all women expected to contract the infection at least once in their life time and 20-30 percent expected to suffer a recurrence.
The high prevalence of UTIs among women is attributed to the fact that the urethra in women is shorter than in men. The urethra in women is placed closer to both the anus and the vagina. Bacteria from the anus and those that enter the vagina during intercourse have only to travel the short length of the urethra to reach the bladder. Besides gender, the other risk factor for UTIs for both genders is advanced age.

Causes of recurrence

A case of UTI is said to be recurrent or persistent if a patient contracts at least four infections in a period of one year. Recurrence of UTIs occurs almost solely among women. Other than the positioning of the urethra in their bodies, this recurrence may be caused by factors such as:

1. Failure to complete a dose of antibiotics. Once the benefits of taking the prescribed antibiotics start to manifest, some patients stop taking the drug because they think the UTI has cleared. Urologists discourage this behavior and advise patients to complete the dose to reduce the chances of any left over bacteria causing a recurrence.

2. Sex is a risk factor. Sexually active women face a higher risk of contracting a UTI because of the transmission of bacteria during intercourse. The risk can be reduced by urinating before and after sex or by taking an antibiotic before or after sex if a doctor prescribes it.

3. Post-menopausal hormonal changes. Menopause lowers estrogen levels in women causing an imbalance in the bacteria in the vagina. This makes women susceptible to infection and recurrence. A urologist can prescribe a vaginal estrogen cream to remedy the problem.

Women are genetically predisposed to contracting UTIs, both because of their anatomy and hormonal changes as they get older. But UTIs in women are highly treatable and are only rarely very serious. If anyone experiences persistent infections, she should seek the advice of expert urologists, such as those found in St. Pete Urology. The experienced specialists at St. Pete Urology can offer consultation, diagnosis and treatment for any UTI problems. For more information, visit the “St Pete Urology” site.

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St Pete Urology is a team of medical professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of urological diseases and conditions. We offer quality care with compassion. For an appointment, call us at (727) 478-1172