Living With Recurrent UTIs: What You Need To Know

Woman in pain with hands placed over stomach.Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the most common bacterial infections in the world. It is estimated that one in two women will have at least one episode of UTI in their lifetime, and approximately 25% of women who have experienced a urinary tract infection will develop recurring UTIs. At Advanced Obstetrics & Gynecology, LLC, our experienced women’s health care providers understand how difficult living with recurrent UTIs can be. We provide individualized, compassionate care, and state-of-the-art treatment to help ease your symptoms and get you on the road to optimal health.  

What Is A UTI?

Urinary tract infections typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and multiply in the bladder. Although most urinary tract infections affect the bladder and the urethra, if a UTI spreads to the kidneys, more serious symptoms and consequences may occur.

Symptoms Of UTI

UTI usually causes a burning sensation when you urinate. Symptoms of bladder infection (cystitis) include frequent, burning urination, cloudy urine, pelvic pressure, abdominal pain, and blood in the urine. If a UTI spreads to the kidneys, you may experience pain in the upper back and side, high fever, chills, nausea, and vomiting. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s vital to see a doctor right away.

Causes Of Recurrent Infection

There are several factors that may contribute to recurrent urinary tract infections, including:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Experiencing a UTI at a very young age
  • Frequent sex or a new sexual partner
  • Diaphragm and spermicide use
  • Kidney or bladder stones
  • Hormonal changes during menopause
  • An irregular urinary tract shape or function

The Effects Of Living With UTIs

Many women who deal with recurrent UTIs feel frustrated and helpless. UTI episodes can be distressing and cause not only physical pain but anxiety as well. They may blame themselves for their condition even though it’s not their fault. For some, the pain of a UTI is so severe it prevents them from performing daily tasks, working or attending social functions. UTIs can even affect a person’s ability to have sex with their partner, leading to issues with physical intimacy. All of these factors can lead to depression and seriously impact a person’s quality of life. In elderly patients, recurring UTIs may aggravate incontinence and contribute to the deterioration of their general health. If you suffer from recurrent UTIs, it’s vital to seek treatment from a gynecologist or urologist who can help you manage your condition.

Treatment For Recurrent UTIs

Urinary tract infections are typically treated with antibiotics, which can become ineffective if the bacteria are causing the UTI to become resistant. That’s why it’s important to take the entire course of antibiotics when they are prescribed. If you have frequent UTIs, your health care provider may make treatment recommendations such as:

  • Daily low-dose antibiotics, taken for six months or longer
  • A single-dose antibiotic taken after sexual intercourse (if your infections occur due to sexual activity)
  • Changing your birth control method
  • Vaginal estrogen therapy for postmenopausal women
  • Self-diagnosis and treatment, in collaboration with your doctor

Preventing UTIs

Opinions vary on whether lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of UTIs, but the following recommendations may be helpful:

  • Drink plenty of water. Although many people recommend drinking cranberry juice as a preventive measure, studies show conflicting results on whether it has infection-fighting properties.
  • Urinate when you feel the need, and especially after sex.
  • Wipe from front to back after using the toilet.
  • Take showers instead of baths.
  • Gently wash the vaginal and anal areas daily using mild soap and water.
  • Avoid douching or using scented products and deodorant sprays in the genital area.
  • Avoid using a diaphragm or spermicide.

Talk To Your Doctor

Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns and ask questions about treatment for recurrent UTIs when you talk to your doctor or other health care provider. Be honest about the impact the condition has had on your day-to-day life and physical and emotional health. Your women’s health care team is there to help and can assist you in finding solutions that can ease your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Contact Us To Learn More

If you’re suffering from recurrent UTIs, you don’t have to go it alone. At Advanced Obstetrics & Gynecology, LLC, our experienced, caring women’s health care professionals provide effective treatment tailored to meet your individual needs. To schedule an appointment, contact us today at 908-806-0080.

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