Learning Center

5 Things that Increase UTI Risk

Learn the risk factors so you can help minimize your chances of getting a UTI! 

5 Things that Increase UTI Risk

The material provided below is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the diagnosis or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional. You should always seek medical advice before consuming any new medicines or supplements. AZO products referenced on this website are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease such as overactive bladder, urinary tract infections, or vaginal infections.

Let’s face it—urinary tract infections are the WORST. And for many women, they’re just a fact of life. As many as 80% of women will experience a UTI at some point in their lives, with almost a third of them suffering through multiple infections over time.1 So, what causes a UTI? In most cases, these painful, burning infections are the result of the bacteria E. coli.2 But there are a few factors that can increase your risk of developing UTI symptoms. Learn the risk factors so you can help minimize your chances of getting a UTI! 

Sexual Activity

Pee before and after sex to help flush out your urinary tract and reduce bacteria buildup.3 

Sorry ladies—sex is unfortunately a major risk factor for UTIs. Women have shorter urethras than men, which makes it easier for bacteria to make its way into the urinary tract as a result of intercourse.3 The amount of sex a woman has, as well as her number of sexual partners, can also increase the risk. But don’t fret—that doesn’t mean celibacy is the only option! Just be sure to pee before and after sex to help flush out your urinary tract and reduce bacteria buildup.3 

Improper Bathroom Hygiene

Believe it or not, wiping incorrectly in the bathroom significantly increases your risk of a UTI due to the movement of bacteria from the anus to the urethra.4 Again, this is the result of anatomy—a shorter urethra means bacteria doesn’t have to travel that far from the anus to reach the urethra. Luckily, it’s easy to minimize this risk factor—after using the bathroom, remember to ALWAYS wipe from front to back.

Holding It

Speaking of using the restroom, holding it in when you feel the urge to go can allow certain bacteria to grow, resulting in a UTI.5 So when nature calls, be sure to answer! Also, make sure to stay hydrated. Drinking water regularly means you’re more likely to take trips to the restroom, which helps to flush your system of UTI-causing bacteria.5 

Tight Clothing

Opt for loose-fitting clothing and cotton underwear.

If your go-to outfit involves a killer pair of skinny jeans, then we’re sorry in advance about this next one—tight clothing can trap moisture, creating the ideal environment for UTI-causing bacteria.6 Certain types of underwear can do the same, like nylon underwear and thongs.7 Instead, opt for loose-fitting clothing and cotton underwear—your urinary tract will thank you!

Family History

You share clothing, memories and inside jokes with the women in your family—and you may also share a genetic disposition to UTIs. Recent studies have identified a genetic component related to an increased incidence of UTIs.So, if the women in your family seem to frequently come down with UTIs, then you may be at an increased risk as well. Being aware of any and all genetic dispositions will be beneficial to your overall health in the long run. After all if you can anticipate infections you can work with your doctor to proactively maintain your health to help avoid them!

Next Steps

It is important to see a doctor right away at the first sign of a UTI to get the right antibiotics to fight the infection.

If some of these risk factors hit close to home, then we’re here to help. Read renowned OB-GYN Dr. Alyssa Dweck’s^ tips for maintaining a healthy urinary tract here.

It is important to see a doctor right away at the first sign of a UTI to get the right antibiotics to fight the infection. When UTI pain hits, AZO is here to help you through the symptoms with AZO Urinary Pain Relief® Maximum Strength which provides fast, over-the-counter relief from UTI pain, burning and urgency to get you back on your feet, fast!*

Dr. Dweck is a paid spokeswoman for AZO.
1 Urinary-tract infections send millions of people to the doctor each year https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/urinary-tract-infections-send-millions-of-people-to-the-doctor-each-year/2013/11/11/185c4748-c944-11e2-9245-773c0123c027 
2 Urinary Tract Infections https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/urinary-tract-infections 
3 The Link Between UTIs and Sex http://www.everydayhealth.com/urinary-tract-infections/the-link-between-utis-and-sex.aspx 
4 How You Know if You Have a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) and How to Get Rid of It https://www.everydayhealth.com/uti/guide/ 
5 8 Most Common Causes of UTIs http://www.prevention.com/health/8-most-common-causes-of-utis/slide/4 
6 Your Guide to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) http://www.webmd.com/women/guide/your-guide-urinary-tract-infections#3 
7 How to avoid painful urinary tract infections http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/ct-how-to-avoid-utis-20170206-story.html 
8 Genetic risk for recurrent urinary tract infections in humans: a systematic review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20379347?dopt=Abstract 

Education
Spotlight

View all