Bacteria and Urinary Health

Bacteria—they’re in our bodies, in our guts and in our food. “Bacteria” is actually a plural noun—the singular being “bacterium.” But bacteria are a little like potato chips—you can never have just one, because they like to have plenty of friends around for company. And tiny as they are (and they are tiny, tiny, tiny) they can have a BIG impact on your health. For instance, if you have too many of the wrong kind in your body, or, if they get into something they shouldn’t, like your urinary tract. Now, why would they be in your urinary tract, you ask? Good question! But first, let’s review some basic urinary tract anatomy.


The kidneys filter waste from the blood—byproducts of the body’s metabolic process. Those byproducts pass down through the ureters, tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder. Additional fluid is added along the way. By the time these byproducts reach the bladder, they are urine. Your bladder is made of muscular tissue that automatically expands to hold about 2 cups of urine comfortably.1 The urine is stored there until you can find a place to go pee, at which point your brain tells your bladder to relax, and the urine is released through the urethra.2 But remember: bacteria are tiny. So sometimes they wander to places they shouldn’t be. Bacteria from the digestive tract can wander to the urinary tract.4 And that’s when you’re at risk for a urinary tract infection (UTI).


Bacteria do belong in your body, but not every kind of bacteria, and not everywhere in your body. They’re a natural part of the digestive process and can be found in the bowels.3 However, if certain kinds of bacteria get into the urinary tract, they can cause an infection. E. coli, the most common cause of UTIs, is an example of that kind of bacteria.3 It typically makes its way into the urinary tract through the urethra via a number of paths such as improper wiping or sexual intercourse.4

Remember these two bits of advice—always wipe front to back and always pee after intercourse.5 Because the anus is so close to the opening of the urethra, it’s a short trip for bacteria, so don’t make it any easier for them. It’s also a good idea to go pee after sex to flush out any bacteria that might have come into close contact with your urethra.


If you think you have a UTI, you’re not alone—50-60 percent of adult women have experienced at least one UTI in their lifetime.6 But just because they’re common doesn’t mean they’re nothing to worry about. Most UTIs are located in the urethra and bladder; but left untreated, a urinary tract infection can spread through the ureters all the way up to your kidneys.5 UTIs can usually be treated effectively with antibiotics, but you must see your doctor to be tested and, if appropriate, get a prescription medication that’s right for you.6

In the meantime, AZO Urinary Tract Defense®, containing a combination of Methenamine, a powerful antibacterial ingredient, and Sodium Salicylate (a general pain reliever), provides valuable help in controlling a urinary tract infection until you see your doctor. That way, you never miss a beat!

∞ Helps inhibit the progression of infection until you see a health care professional. AZO is not intended to replace medical care.