KNOWING THAT URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS (UTIS) ARE THE SECOND MOST COMMON TYPE OF INFECTION NEXT TO THE COMMON COLD...WHY AREN'T WE TALKING ABOUT THEM?
There's a lot of smack talk and misinformation going around about UTIs, largely because aren't talking about them enough!
We’ve learned a LOT about UTIs over the past year and we think it’s important to start the conversation about what everyone needs to know about UTIs so we can help prevent them and their reign of terror.
Don't worry, we gotchu girl. Here's a cheat-sheet to get you up to speed:
1. Only women get UTIs:
- Although yes, most females will get a UTI at some point in their lives—50-60% of adult women to be exact—men can get UTIs too (1)
- It’s much more rare for men to contract a UTI however, the odds catch up as men get older where something like an enlarged prostate gland can increase their chances of infection.
- WHY US?!
- The difference is in our anatomy. Girls have shorter urethra so it’s easier for e-coli bacteria to get all-up-in-there and and nestle in, creating an infection.
- It does NOT mean your guy has better hygiene (HA!).
2. Once you get one, you probably won’t get another one:
- I really wish this one was true, however chances are high that if you’ve suffered through one UTI, you’ll probably have another one. It’s not that you’re doing something wrong, it’s just how the body works.
- Most women with recurrent UTIs do not have any functional or anatomic abnormalities of the urinary tract.
- Recurrent or frequent UTIs (2 infections in 6 months, or 3+ in 12 months) affect 25% of women with a history of UTIs (1). It could be the same bacteria that caused the prior one (relapse), or more commonly it’s different bacteria (reinfection).
- Most recurrences occur within the first 3 months of the primary infection and also when the need for UTI preventative measures is most crucial.
3. UTIs are STDs/STI’s:
- We get why there’s confusion; the three scary letters (with a ‘T’ in the middle), an infection linked to sex, super annoying symptoms (read: lightning bolts of hell!), and even a little embarrassment – like co-workers noticing you going to the bathroom every five minutes.
- Too many people think it’s contagious, or that it’s someone’s fault. It’s not. You can get UTIs even if you don’t have sex – it’s just happens that sex brings a few key “ingredients” together.
- So your boyfriend can chill out, he didn’t give you a disease, you’re not incompatible sexual partners; you've just got some evil bacteria hanging onto your insides and making you pee razor blades, no biggie.
4. Home remedies are ok to treat UTIs:
- There are plenty of opinions about how to get rid of UTIs, because UTIs are the worst. But you have to be careful: if you get an infection in your urinary tract, you may need antibiotics to cure it, and the longer you wait trying things at home with no reduction of symptoms, your risk of needing antibiotics rises.
- There are definitly some things you CAN do at home to help prevent the infection from spreading futher, but keep in mind delaying treatment can result in the infection getting worse and working its way up to your bladder or kidneys. Not good.
5. There’s not much you can do to avoid them:
- This one deserves its own series of posts to help navigate through all the stuff out there on prevention. For now, think about it this way: there are things you can do to prevent the bacteria from getting in there such as avoiding spermicides, or making sure you pee after sex.
- There are things that you can take to keep the bacteria from hooking on, such as D-mannose (naturally occurring carbohydrate)which prevents the bacteria’s “hooks” from working (2).
- There are things that you can do to support your overall body health to prevent infection, such as taking immune boosting vitamins, or just doing all that stuff people are always telling youyou need more of – sleep, hydration, good nutrition food, exercise, and a good laugh.
So go forth in the world with all your new knowledge! Spread the good word and tell your friends! UTIs are already the worst; they don’t need to be complicated too!
Questions? Comments? Collaboration ideas? Let's chat!
1. Epp, Annette, Larochelle, Annick. "Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection." Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada. Volume 32, Issue 11 (2010), 1082 - 1090.
2. Altarac S, Papeš D (2014) Use of D-mannose in prophylaxis of recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women. BJU Int 113(1):9–10.