Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections

Uri­nary tract infec­tions (UTI) are the sec­ond most com­mon type of infec­tion in the body. Recur­rent uri­nary tract infec­tions are defined as three or more symp­to­matic, cul­­ture-proven UTIs in one year or a per­sis­tent, symp­to­matic UTI that does not respond to treat­ment. Typ­i­cal symp­toms include: pain or burn­ing with uri­na­tion, uri­nary fre­quen­cy or urgency, bloody urine, or fever. 

A UTI can affect any part of your uri­nary sys­tem. When an infec­tion only affects your blad­der, it’s usu­al­ly a minor ill­ness that can be eas­i­ly treat­ed. How­ev­er, if it spreads to your kid­neys, you may suf­fer from seri­ous health con­se­quences and may even need to be hospitalized.

Although UTIs can hap­pen to any­one at any age, they are more preva­lent in women. In fact, the Nation­al Insti­tute of Dia­betes and Diges­tive and Kid­ney Dis­eases (NID­DK) esti­mates that one in five young adult women have recur­ring UTIs. 

Most com­mon causes:

  • Sex­u­al inter­­course- bac­te­ria from the vagi­na can get pushed inside the urethra
  • Menopause- lack of estro­gen in the vagi­na pro­duces an envi­ron­ment that is more favor­able for growth of path­o­gen­ic bac­te­ria. Estro­gen is a woman’s nat­ur­al defense against blad­der infections.
  • Stones- in the kid­ney or blad­der can har­bor bacteria
  • Sper­mi­ci­dal use and douch­ing- can kill the​“good bac­te­ria” that help ward off blad­der infections
  • Incom­plete emp­ty­ing of the blad­der- stag­nant urine in the blad­der can be a medi­um for bac­te­r­i­al growth