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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:

Recommended Related to

Urethritis

Urethritis is inflammation of the urethra. That's the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body. Pain with urination is the main symptom of urethritis. Urethritis is commonly due to infection by bacteria. It can typically be cured with antibiotics.

Read the Urethritis article > >

  • 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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