Skip to content

Information and Resources

Font Size
A
A
A

Cut Urinary Tract Infection Risks

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are behind many recurrent UTIs. What can a woman do to reduce risks?
By
WebMD Feature

When chemical engineering professor Terri Camesano was in college, she lived the life of an ambitious young scientist. "That period was characterized by stress," she says, and often, she was too busy to drink enough fluids. The result: repeated urinary tract infections.

Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are marked by frequent urination, pain, and burning -- and are much more common in women than men. Some women, such as Camesano, get recurrent ones, meaning three or more per year. To complicate matters, rising rates of antibiotic resistance are making some urinary tract infections tougher to treat, putting women at risk of repeated bouts.

Recommended Related to

Understanding Urinary Tract Infections -- Symptoms

The symptoms of urinary tract infections include: Pain or burning during urination Abdominal pain in the area over the bladder (above the pubic bone) A need to urinate immediately, as soon as any urine collects in the bladder Need to urinate frequently Passage of small amounts of urine at a time Need to get up from sleep to urinate Low back or flank pain Cloudy urine Bloody urine Bad-smelling urine Pain behind the scrotum Painful ejaculation or, rarely, bloody...

Read the Understanding Urinary Tract Infections -- Symptoms article > >

Yet, with lifestyle and diet changes -- and in some instances medication -- women can take steps to help reduce their risks of urinary tract infections.

Urinary Tract Infections: Causes

Most urinary tract infections occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract and start to multiply in the bladder. Women may be more prone to UTIs than men because their urethras are closer to the anus, the source of UTI-causing bacteria.

Many women find that sexual intercourse triggers an infection though researchers aren't sure why. Studies suggest that women who use a diaphragm are more likely to develop a urinary tract infectionurinary tract infection, while other research shows that women whose partners use a condom with spermicidal foam also have overgrowth of bacteria within the vagina, perhaps making them more prone to infections.

Whatever the cause of urinary tract infections, antibiotic-resistant bacteria are raising many women's risks of repeated infection.

Antibiotic Resistance: Why Your UTI Risks Are Rising

Nowadays, doctors are concerned that urinary tract infections have joined the long list of bacterial infections growing resistant to antibiotics. The more frequently that bacteria are exposed to certain antibiotic, the greater the chance resistant strains will develop.

Scientists worry about staying ahead of the bugs -- and they're also concerned there are not enough new antibiotics being developed.

In the past, "there was generally something new on the shelf to try," says Walter Stamm, MD, a University of Washington professor of medicine who is conducting NIH-sponsored research on recurrent UTIs. That's not as true today, he adds.

1 | 2 | 3

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

bloodstream
Tips to help prevent clots.
checking blood sugar
Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
Live and thrive.
gloved hand holding syringe
10 preventable diseases.
psoriasis
How to identify that bite.
man eating meal
Folates, green tea and more.
brain scan with soda
Tips to avoid complications.
disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
Woman with stressed, fatigue
Get relief tips.
restroom sign
Food and drinks that make you go.
two male hands
Understanding RA.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.