Recurrent UTIs: Understanding the Top 5 Causes and How to Prevent Them

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the most frequent bacterial infections in women, impacting nearly half at some point during their lives. Though discomforting, UTIs typically don’t pose a severe threat to one’s health, as antibiotics can treat the condition effectively. However, some women experience frequent UTIs, which can be frustrating and have significant repercussions that compromise their quality of life. In these cases, the discomfort turns into a more acute form of pain. Don’t let your condition worsen to that point. Here are the top five causes and ways to stop recurrent UTIs.

Sexual Activity

Recurrent UTIs in women can be the result of engaging in sexual activity. During sexual congress, bacteria can enter the urethra through various routes resulting in an increased risk of infection. Make it a habit to urinate after sexual activity to minimize your chances of developing a UTI. That will help flush out any bacteria.    

Poor Hygiene

Without good hygiene practices, bacteria can easily enter your urethra and cause infection. Make sure to wipe from front to back after using the restroom. Also, avoid using products with scents since they often contain chemicals that could irritate or inflame some of your more sensitive areas. That will make you more vulnerable to UTIs. It also helps if you talk to your partner about hygiene practices. Both partners must wash their hands before engaging in sex. If you or your partner have dirt under your nails, that could make you more susceptible to infection. And if you use sex toys, always wash them before and after using them. Unwashed toys are not sexy and can result in bacterial infections that could lead to a lot of discomfort during sex. Start putting these practices to good use if you don’t want the discomfort of a recurrent UTI getting in the way of your sexual activities. 


Certain women may be more prone to UTIs due to their anatomy. Women with shorter urethras or those closer to the anus may be at increased risk for infection. Those who experience vaginal dryness could also be susceptible. To prevent repeat UTI infections, ensure you’re adequately hydrated. That also applies to when you’re having sex. If you use lube, skip the oil-based options and start using water-based lubricants instead. That will prevent vaginal dryness and irritation. 

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can increase your chances of UTIs. Diabetes, for instance, can weaken immunity and make fighting off infections harder for the body to do. Also, conditions that keep urine inside for extended periods such as kidney stones or an enlarged prostate increase risk of UTIs. If this applies to you, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about how best to avoid further episodes. The sooner you go, the sooner you can discuss your options for chronic UTI treatment.

Antibiotic Resistance

Overusing antibiotics may result in antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria which may become difficult or impossible to treat, thus increasing your risk for antibiotic-resistant UTIs. To minimize your chances of this happening, only take antibiotics when prescribed by healthcare provider and complete all courses as directed. If you often take antibiotics to deal with a cold, consider natural remedies instead. Don’t waste your antibiotic shots on a cold or flu. 

Prevention Strategies

Protecting urinary health requires prevention strategies. Here are a few that you can implement to lower the risk of UTIs: 

  • Stay hydrated: Staying well-hydrated with fluids will help flush out bacteria from the urinary tract and can reduce infection risks. Throughout your day, keep drinking plenty of water. Staying hydrated will flush bacteria out from your system more quickly.
  • Maintain good hygiene: Use unscented products to prevent irritation and infection.  
  • Urinate frequently: Don’t hold onto urine for too long as this increases the risk of infection.
  • Urinate after sexual activity: Doing this can help flush out any bacteria that has entered the urethra through sexual activity and reduce friction while preventing vaginal dryness during sexual activity.
  • Consider using water-based lubricant: It will reduce friction and help avoid vaginal dryness during sexual activity, helping you have a smooth experience.

What to Know

Recurrent urinary tract infections can be distressful and uncomfortable, yet often preventable. By practicing good hygiene, staying hydrated, and communicating with healthcare providers regarding any underlying medical conditions that could increase the risk of UTIs, you can lower your chances of experiencing repeated UTIs. Should this occur again, be sure to seek treatment from healthcare facilities as soon as possible so as not to experience further complications. With help from a professional, you can prevent any recurrent infections.