Ask the Nurse

I’ve had two urinary tract infections in the past year. Why am I getting them and what can I do to prevent them in the future?

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common and become increasingly more so with increased sexual activity and age. Most infections begin in the urethra, the tube that drains the bladder. The theory is that because the opening of the urethra in women is in close proximity to the anus and vagina, organisms can more readily move from these openings to the urethra. That may account for the higher infection rate in women. Post-menopausal women also may experience bladder or uterine prolapse, or a shifting of these structures from their normal position. This shift can lead to incomplete emptying of the bladder and create conditions conducive to bacterial growth. Changes in hormone production in postmenopausal women, particularly estrogen, also can alter vaginal flora, the good organisms that populate the vagina and fight bacteria.

You can reduce your risk of developing UTIs by:

  1. drinking plenty of water daily
  2. urinating whenever the need arises
  3. wiping from front to back to reduce spreading bacteria
  4. cleansing the vaginal region before intercourse
  5. urinating before and after intercourse
  6. avoiding vaginal hygiene sprays and douching, which may be irritating

All My Best,
Speaking of Women's Health Nurse

September 26, 2011 at 11:51am