Is your pee cloudy from frequent UTIs? Does it hurt to go?
Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, occur 30 times more frequently in women than in men, according to the Office on Women’s Health. That’s because normal female anatomy allows for bacteria to be introduced easily into the female urinary tract. UTIs can take up residence in your bladder, kidneys, ureters or urethra, but the most common type of UTI is a bladder infection.
Why Does My UTI Keep Coming Back?
The Office on Women’s Health says an estimated 50% to 60% of American women experience a UTI during their lifetimes. Approximately 30% to 44% of those women will get another UTI within six months of the first, according to a report from American Family Physician, a journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
If you get a second UTI within six months or three UTIs within 12 months, you have a recurrent UTI.
Fortunately, UTIs are easily treated with antibiotics. Left untreated, however, UTIs can spread to other areas of the body, including your kidneys. In rare instances, the infection can spread to the bloodstream, which can be life-threatening.
UTIs usually cause one or more of the following symptoms:
- Burning or pain during urination
- Fatigue, weakness, shakiness or confusion (more common in older women)
- Fever, which may indicate a kidney infection
- Frequent need to urinate, although you may not be able to produce a full urine stream
- Lower abdomen pressure
- Urine that looks cloudy or milky
- Urine with an unusual, foul-smelling odor
- Urine with blood in it (more common in younger women)
If you suspect a UTI, schedule a doctor’s appointment for an exam and a urinalysis or urine culture to diagnose the condition. For recurrent UTIs, your healthcare provider may conduct additional tests or recommend you see a urologist or urogynecologist to determine why the infections continue to occur.
How Do I Stop Recurring Urinary Tract Infections?
Try these tactics for preventing UTIs:
- After a bowel movement, wipe front to back only.
- Change out of sweaty or wet clothing immediately and avoid tight pants that trap moisture.
- Clean your anus and vagina lips every day but avoid douching and feminine hygiene sprays.
- Don’t linger in bathwater longer than 30 minutes.
- Drink at least six to eight glasses of fluids daily.
- Give yourself a bathroom break at least every three to four hours or more frequently if you need to go. When you empty your bladder often, bacteria have less chance to develop.
- Urinate before and after you have sexual intercourse.
- Wear cotton-crotch underwear.
Your healthcare provider will prescribe antibiotics for a UTI and may prescribe a small daily dose of preventive antibiotics if you have recurrent infections.
Talk with a Professional
Don’t let a UTI go untreated. If you have signs of an infection, schedule an appointment with a primary care provider for a diagnosis.