Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

Font Size

Do Diaphragms Cause Urinary Tract Infections?

As it turns out, they do -- but the reason may surprise you.
By
WebMD Magazine - Feature
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

In every issue of WebMD the Magazine, we ask experts to answer readers' questions about a wide range of topics, including some of the most common beliefs about medicine. In our September 2011 issue, we asked Jane Miller, MD, an associate professor of urology at Washington University's School of Medicine, about the link between diaphragms and painful bladder infections.

Q: My friend says I'm getting urinary tract infections because I use a diaphragm. Is she right?

Recommended Related to Urinary Incontinence/OAB

Tips for Coping Day to Day With Urinary Incontinence

Like it or not, urinary incontinence is a fact of life for many people. It can happen as we get older, and for women during pregnancy or after birth, even as the result of a persistent cough. What can you do to take control? For answers, WebMD went to the American Urological Association and Craig Comiter, MD, associate professor of urology at Stanford University School of Medicine. Here are their tips on how to take matters into your own hands -- and make living with urinary incontinence a...

Read the Tips for Coping Day to Day With Urinary Incontinence article > >

A: It's TRUE. Diaphragm use can contribute to urinary tract infections.

The reason is that urinary tract infections (common symptoms include burning pain and a constant need to pee), get triggered by bacteria, most often E. coli, which lives in the colon and rectum. And diaphragms are used with spermicides, "which can kill off the protective bacteria in the vagina, as well as change the pH balance of the vagina," Miller says. "This can increase growth of the kinds of bacteria that cause UTIs and bring it closer to the urethra and ultimately the bladder."

If you have recurring infections, you may be better off using alternative birth control methods, such as an IUD or the Pill. General tips for avoiding bladder infections include: Drinking plenty of water, peeing when you need to (instead of "holding" it), and wiping from front to back after urinating and bowel movements.

Reviewed on June 15, 2011

Today on WebMD

Incontinence Women Slideshow
SLIDESHOW
exam room
Slideshow
 
Public restroom door sign
Slideshow
nachos and beer
Article
 
woman holding water
Slideshow
Food That Makes You Gotta Go
Slideshow
 
Male Incontinence Slideshow
Slideshow
sleepless woman
Article
 
Worried in bed
Article
woman standing in front of restroom sign
Slideshow
 
woman reading medicine bottle
Quiz
Woman on riverbank in autumn
Slideshow