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Insights from the WebMD Incontinence/ OAB Community

WebMD Incontinence/OAB Community: What Can Be Done About Recurrent UTIs?

One woman wonders why she has been getting so many urinary tract infections. The first time she had a UTI, she woke up in the middle of the night with extreme pain on her right side. The next day she went to a nearby clinic and was diagnosed with a bladder infection. "I've never had a UTI or any other type of infection like this, so I was thinking at the time I'm hurting too bad for an infection," she says. But the doctor insisted it was an infection and gave her antibiotics. "The pain went away once I started taking the antibiotics," she says.

A few weeks later, she developed the same symptoms again and her doctor diagnosed a kidney infection. She took another round of antibiotics and the symptoms went away. "Now I can feel it yet again coming back this morning," she says. "I'm only 25 and I know one of the main reasons for UTI is having sex, but I have not had any type of sexual contact since a good while before this incident. I do not drink soft drinks; I drink a lot of water and always have. I'm not sure why I keep getting this infection and why the doctors don't think it's odd like I do. What are your thoughts?" she asks.

Lainey, a WebMD Community moderator, asks if she has changed her diet recently and if she empties her bladder fully when she urinates. She also wonders if she has noticed any odor or change in the color of her urine. "Many things can cause UTI/kidney infections," she says. "Be your own advocate and press the discussion again with your doctor."

Another woman has had similar symptoms. "I'm 26 and it sounds like we're going through the same thing," she says. "I have had frequent UTIs for years. I just had a urine culture done and they found a resistant strand of E. coli in my urine. So the antibiotic I was taking wouldn't do anything for that strand of E. coli." She advises her to ask for a culture the next time to see what is causing the infection. "Also, you can ask for a blood test to see if you have stones," she says.

WebMD Guest Expert Diane K. Newman, RN-C, MSN, ANP, agrees it's important to find out exactly what's causing the UTIs. "If you keep having what we call 'recurrent UTIs,' you need a cystoscopy so they can determine why they keep occurring," she says. "UTIs in women, though, are very common. Maybe ask your doctor about taking something to prevent these infections."

Another woman has been dealing with recurring UTIs since she was 15. "Went in a year or so back and they did the culture and found the E. coli like the other person who replied." She wondered how the E. coli got into her urinary tract. But then her mother-in-law, who is a nurse, suggested that it might be related to her toilet habits. "Do you wipe front to back, or back to front?" she asks. "We don't often think about it, or even pay attention." But now that she's started to pay more attention, she hasn't had as many infections. "I have only had minor flares now and again, rather than the bad ones all the time."

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