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Risk Factors for UTIs

You can take steps to reduce your chances of getting a urinary tract infection (UTI). Knowing how to control some of your risk factors may help you prevent a UTI.

Risk factors that you can control include:

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  • Hygiene. After using the bathroom, women should always wipe themselves from front to back. The most common cause of a UTI is growth of bacteria in the urinary tract, usually Escherichia coli (E. coli), a type of bacteria commonly found in the area around the rectum.
  • Not drinking enough fluids. Drinking more fluids causes a person to urinate more frequently, reducing the levels of bacteria in the urinary tract and bladder.
  • Sexual activity. Urination after sexual intercourse decreases the risk of urinary tract infections in women.
  • Use of a contraceptive diaphragm, which may cause increased risk of UTIs.
  • Use of a spermicide. Studies have shown that a woman may be 3 times more likely to get a UTI if her sex partner uses a condom coated with a spermicide.
  • Use of feminine hygiene sprays or frequent douching.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Avery L. Seifert, MD - Urology
Last Revised May 13, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 13, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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