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 Why Do I Have UTIs So Frequently?

 Why Do I Have UTIs So Frequently?

When it comes to getting sick, there’s never a good time. You just deal with it. But when you suffer from bouts of the same illness over and over again, it’s particularly frustrating and annoying. If you are among the nearly 10 million patients who visit a health care facility each year due to a urinary tract infection (UTI), you are all too familiar with how disruptive they can be.

In this blog, the expert team at Generations Family Practice in Cary, North Carolina, explain what UTIs are and why some patients suffer from recurrent UTIs.

What is a UTI?

Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are the most common outpatient infection among the general population. Both women and men can contract UTIs, although they are much more common among women. In fact, about 50% to 60% of women will get a UTI during their lifetime, while about 10% of men will get one in theirs.

Escherichia coli (E. coli) or another type of bacteria in the bladder, kidneys, ureters, or urethra cause urinary tract infections. Telltale UTI symptoms include cloudy urine, frequent urination, and an uncomfortable burning sensation when urinating.

Although UTIs are common and considered a minor medical condition, they shouldn’t be ignored. If left untreated, the bacteria from a UTI can spread to other parts of your body like the kidneys, resulting in a serious infection. In fact, in severe cases of untreated UTIs, a life-threatening type of sepsis called urosepsis may result.

Typically, we classify a patient as having chronic or recurrent UTIs if they have three or four infections in a year. Remarkably, an estimated 25% to 30% of women who get a UTI will get a recurrent infection within six months.

Numerous risk factors for UTIs

While there is no single cause of urinary tract infections that can account for every case of recurrent UTIs, there are numerous risk factors that can trigger UTIs, though not all of them are things we can control.

Basic anatomy

Since a woman’s urethra is closer to the anus and shorter in size than a man’s urethra, a woman’s anatomy provides easier access for bacteria to the bladder, making them more prone to developing UTIs than men. However, men with an enlarged prostate can also be prone to recurrent UTIs.


For women, heredity and family history play a role in recurrent UTIs. Research suggests that regardless of age, having a mother or sister who has a history of frequent UTIs increases your risk for recurrent UTIs.


Not surprisingly, age plays a role in the likelihood of getting a UTI as well as suffering recurrent bouts. Specifically, women 65 and older are twice as likely to get a UTI than the general female population. In the case of postmenopausal women, the mitigating risk factor can be explained by pH changes in the vagina, which make older women more prone to infection.

Manageable proactive and hygiene habits

The good news on recurrent urinary tract infections is that there are plenty of new habits you can develop to ward off UTIs.

Make recurrent UTIs part of your medical history

If you are having issues with recurrent UTIs, make sure every doctor or health care provider you visit flags it in your medical history. Be proactive when you speak to your providers so that when they advise you or prescribe medication they are aware of your predisposition for UTIs.

This is especially important for women, since spermicides, antibacterial douches, and certain oral antibiotics may trigger changes in vaginal bacteria that can increase your risk of developing a UTI.

Button up bathroom habits

Similarly, since a woman’s anatomy makes them more prone to UTIs, do yourself a favor and don’t wait when you feel the urge to urinate, and remember to wipe from front to back after a bowel movement or when urinating to ensure a clean pathway between anus, vagina, and urethra.

Another great habit for women is to empty your bladder before and after sexual intercourse, and wash your genital area every day and before having sex. Keep in mind that you don’t have to douche or buy vaginal wipes or store-bought products, but instead simply gently wash the outside portion of your genitals with soap and water.

Stay hydrated

Another effective and easy strategy to help reduce your risk of recurrent UTIs is to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, especially water. Although staying hydrated will pay dividends for your overall health, in the case of UTIs it serves as a great way to flush out bacteria by diluting your urine as you urinate more often. 

If you are concerned about recurrent urinary tract infections, book an appointment online or over the phone with Generations Family Practice today.

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