If you’ve had a urinary tract infection (UTI) before, you know they’re annoying! You have to start running to the bathroom more, it hurts to pee, and somehow you have to get antibiotics.
What is a UTI?
Simply stated, UTIs are an infection of the urinary tract. They’re usually caused by bacteria, therefore, antibiotics typically solve the problem. If your UTI symptoms do not go away with antibiotics, you may actually have something called painful bladder syndrome and it’s worthwhile to see your urologist to clarify this.
UTIs are most common in women because women have a short urethra, which is the tube you pee through. It’s only about 2-3 centimeters in length. Therefore, it’s not hard for bacteria to travel across your urethra and set up shop in your bladder.
Common risk factors for a UTI include:
- Having diabetes.
- Having kidney stones.
- Being postmenopausal.
Some of you will have the great fortune of having multiple UTIs in a year and this can really impact your quality of life.
My question for these patients tends to be, do you notice a pattern of when you get UTIs? Flights, long car rides, and dehydration tend to be very common things that lead to UTIs because they reduce the number of times you’re going to the bathroom.
However, the most common cause is related to sex. Why? We have a lot of bacteria between our legs. Also, there’s bacteria around the anus and it’s just not that hard for the mechanics of sex to push bacteria into the vagina and urethra.
What’s really important for a women is to make sure that you urinate within 5 to 10 minutes after having sex. Why? This washes any bacteria out from where it shouldn’t be!
Unfortunately, there are all sorts of magazines out there that support all sorts of rituals – there’s really no data to support one ritual over another. Really, all you need to do is urinate after sex.