Healthy Living

Why You May Get Chronic UTIs

Why You May Get Chronic UTIs

Key Takeaways

  • Recurrent urinary infections are known as chronic infections of the urinary tract. 
  • In some unique cases of UTIs, the infection does not respond to treatment strategies, leading to chronic infections. 
  • Various reasons can lead to chronic urinary tract infections. 

UTIs, as we already know, are infections of the urinary tract – the urethra, bladder, ureters, and even the kidneys. They are among the most common type of infections that can be experienced by anyone, and various forms of treatment are available. However, there are some unique cases of UTIs, where the infection does not respond to treatment strategies, whether medical or natural. These cases of UTIs are referred to as chronic UTIs.

Someone may also be diagnosed with chronic UTIs if they keep having recurrences of infection. Such an individual would get treatment and recover from the UTI, but the infection would set in again soon thereafter. Whether chronic UTI is the result of recurrent episodes or resistance to medication, it poses a serious danger to the person. Common symptoms of a UTI are:

  • abdominal pain
  • pain while urinating
  • increased urgency to urinate
  • a feeling of not completely emptying your bladder
  • pain before urinating

When the person has chronic UTIs, though, the symptoms are much worse and may lead to:

  • pain in the kidneys, which presents as pain in the lower back
  • nausea and vomiting
  • fatigue
  • a high fever
  • mental disorientation

All these are signals that the infection has reached the kidneys, and it is beginning to interfere with the functioning of the kidneys. Prolonged cases of chronic UTI can be fatal, because the infection may spread into your bloodstream, eventually affecting all other body organs.

So, if UTIs are so common and easily treatable, why would anyone develop chronic UTIs? There are several reasons for that:

Anal sex

The bacteria that cause UTIs are Escherichia Coli bacteria (E. Coli) and they exist in the intestines of every human and animal. While in the intestines, the bacteria are not harmful, but the tiniest bit of these bacteria entering the urethra can cause a UTI. Because E. Coli exists in the intestines, it is also found in the anus, and a person engaging in anal sex can acquire the bacteria during sexual intercourse.

Sex

While UTIs are more commonly seen in those who engage in anal sex, UTIs may also occur in those who do not engage in anal sex. Bacteria can very easily be spread during sex in general.

When engaging in sex, it is wise to urinate before and after sex. This will remove much of the bacteria that may cause a UTI.

Lifestyle choices

Very often, the things we do may cause us to acquire a UTI, and since most of us don’t realize it, we end up repeating the same destructive habits. For example, certain hygiene processes like douching or using antiseptic soaps remove all forms of bacteria from the vaginal region, including the beneficial bacteria. This leaves the individual at risk of contracting a UTI, and he or she may keep getting recurrent episodes if they keep up these habits.

Nevertheless, hygiene is very important in preventing UTIs and E. Coli bacteria can make their way into your urethra just from your toilet habits. Wiping from back to front, for example, may transfer bacteria from the anus to the urethra, and so does water backsplash.

Hormone imbalance

This can be due to menopause or pregnancy, both of which alter the concentration of oestrogen in the body. Oestrogen plays an important role in regulating the body’s immunity, and that helps to prevent UTIs. Menopause and pregnancy both alter oestrogen concentrations and lower immunity, placing the woman at a higher risk of UTIs that seems not to respond to medication.

Prevention

There are many ways to prevent UTIs, which may help prevent the development of chronic UTIs. An easy way to prevent UTIs is to urinate before and after sex. This flushes out bacteria that may travel up the urethra. Additionally, make sure to wipe front to back, as this will keep bacteria away from the urethra. It is also important to promote good bacteria, so avoid certain cleansing practices, and eat foods that contain good bacteria. For example, eating yogurt will promote the growth of healthy bacteria that may prevent UTIs. Also, if you are taking antibiotics, it is especially important to promote this good bacteria, because antibiotics tend to destroy both bad and good bacteria. Another food that may help is cranberries. Cranberries can be consumed normally, as well as in the form of supplements, which are often advertised for the use of preventing UTIs.

Treatment

Many people believe that it is possible to "wait out" a UTI. While the symptoms of the UTI may indeed subside after a while, this does not guarantee that the infection is completely gone. Therefore, it is vital to see a doctor and receive treatment for a UTI. Otherwise, the infection may still be present, causing symptoms at some times and not others. Generally, a simple antibiotic is all that is necessary to treat a UTI. As mentioned previously, antibiotics will remove both the good and the bad bacteria from the system. Therefore, it may be good to eat foods like yogurt to increase the amount of good bacteria. Additionally, adding a probiotic supplement to your regiment while you are taking antibiotics will increase the good flora in your system. This will prevent antibiotic side effects like diarrhea from occurring. Probiotics may also help prevent UTIs in the future, because good bacteria may be able to overcome the UTI-causing bacteria.

Final Thoughts

UTIs can very easily become chronic, due to poor hygiene and other factors. By following through with prevention techniques, UTIs may not become chronic. Additionally, it is important to see a doctor whenever a UTI is possibly present, because UTIs may not go away completely without proper treatment, which is usually accomplished through a full round of antibiotics. If your UTIs become chronic, be sure to inform your doctor. There may be underlying causes that are making your UTIs chronic, and these issues must be dealt with before proper treatment will be effective. If you have further concerns involving UTIs, be sure to discuss them with your doctor.