There's been several studies on UTI prevention, but most of us still feel in the dark. There’s a lot of misinformation that leave women feeling like UTIs are this ominous boogie man waiting to jump out and get you every time you forget to pee after sex. Well Mr. Boogie Man, meet science. Science says that’s not true at all.
The truth is that some women, with perfectly good hygiene, are more prone to UTIs for reasons that are not well understood. It could be because some women have shorter urethras, different vaginal flora, and some studies suggest that antibiotic usage could be a factor in your UTI risk (much like the relationship between yeast infection development and UTIs). But there are a few myths we can put to bed right now.
Things That DON’T Cause UTIs
1) YOUR CAFFEINE INTAKE
Yup. Despite cutting coffee being a popular suggestion for avoiding UTIs, this advice doesn't hold water. You can drink coffee daily and it won't increase your UTI risk. As long as your caffeine intake isn't limiting your water intake, this won't affect your UTI risk.
2) HOT TUBS AND BUBBLE BATHS
Swirling pool of filth ready to infect your vagina or harmless activity on a snowy evening? Yep, harmless.1
3) THONGS AND SYNTHETIC UNDERWEAR
Fashion choice or nightmare-down-there? Fashion, of course.2 There is no correlation between what type of underwear you wear and whether or not you contract recurrent urinary tract infections.
It's true: no studies have shown that your choice of underwear will increase of decrease your risk of UTI.
4) TIGHT PANTS CAUSE URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS
Why do they have to attack our self-expression? Wear whatever you want, the way your pants fit is not going to affect whether or not you get a urinary tract infection.2
5) NOT SHOWERING AFTER SEX OR EXERCISE
Ok, you probably should shower…at least after exercise, but if you opt out, it’s not going to automatically infect your va-jay-jay. And opting to shower more frequently is not likely to have a significant impact on whether or not you get UTIs.1
6) YOU DON’T PEE AFTER SEX
Doctors loooooove recommending this. Like, if peeing after sex were a person, they’d totally get in bed with it. The sad truth? Peeing after sex has not been proven to prevent you from getting recurrent urinary tract infections.
7) YOUR WIPING HABITS
Who doesn’t love being treated like a toddler when they’re a grown-ass-woman? Even if you didn’t wipe “properly” (front-to-back), there's no proven correlation between this habit and urinary tract infections.1
SEE ALSO: How Do You Know If You Have A UTI?
Are STIs Linked To UTIs?
While we're at it, let's debunk the STI-UTI myth too. One of the biggest risk factors for urinary tract infections is sexual activity, but getting a UTI does not mean you also have a sexually-transmitted infection. It is possible to develop an infection in your urinary tract following infection of an STI,3 but STIs are by no means the a common cause of UTIs.
Often, a sexually-transmitted infection will be mistaken for a UTI. Misdiagnoses are common especially with gonorrhea and chlamydia because they present similar symptoms. Studies have found, however, that though the symptoms between UTI and STI are often similar, most of the time the patient’s urine is still clear, meaning their urinary tract is not infected.4
What are UTIs really caused by?
UTIs are caused when bacteria, most of the time e.coli, get into the urinary tract and turn into an infection. Women may be especially prone to UTIs because they have shorter urethras, which allow bacteria quick access to the urinary tract, where it can travel to the bladder and kidneys.
Everybody has bacteria down there, but some people are particularly prone to infections regardless of how cleanly they are. It's best to think of UTIs in terms of your risk factor. These are the top four factors that affect whether or not you are at risk for recurrent urinary tract infections.
One of the top risk factors for women is how often you have sex, particularly if you are a woman having sex with a man. Your risk is increased when you take on a new sex-partner.5
2) If Your Mother Had UTIs
Recent studies have brought to light that your probability of getting recurrent urinary tract infections may literally be in your genes.6
You can also inherit certain anatomical traits like a shorter urethra that may make you more prone to recurrent UTIs.
3) You Were Young When You First Got UTIs
If you contracted a urinary tract infection as a child, you are significantly more likely to experience recurrent UTIs as an adult. Studies suggest that when a child is treated with antibiotics for a UTI at a young age, it disrupts the natural flora in her vagina and makes her more prone to UTIs as she ages.7
UTIs are kind of like lightning (only far more common). You get struck once, you’re more likely to get struck again.8
SEE ALSO: 6 UTI Symptoms You May Not Expect
UTI Prevention Is Key
As the scientific evidence suggests, most risk factors for urinary tract infections are completely out of your control. Comforting, right?
What You CAN Do About Recurrent UTIs
The two most important things you can do to decrease your chances of contracting another UTI are:
1) Drink more water.
2) Take d-mannose everyday.
D-mannose is a natural sugar found in berries—and even in your own body. Its UTI prevention power has been scientifically proven to prevent 85% of urinary tract infections.10
Not sure what d-mannose is or how to take it? Watch the 60 second video below that explains everything!
Dmanna Helps You Prevent UTIs
D-mannose is the main ingredient in Dmanna, a daily UTI prevention supplement that’ll help you prevent and manage UTIs without having to rely on antibiotics for the rest of your life. It comes in pre-measured packets for ease of use and dissolves in any drink. Best of all, by keeping you UTI-free, Dmanna will help you avoid antibiotics that have harmful side effects.
Click here to learn more about Dmanna and d-mannose, the UTI prevention superstar.
- Diagnosis and Management of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections in Non-Pregnant Women
- Brief vs Thong Hygiene in Obstetrics and Gynecology (B-THONG): A Survey Study
- Sexually Transmitted Causes Of Urethritis, Proctitis, Pharyngitis And Cervicitis
- High Prevalence Of Sterile Pyuria In The Setting Of Sexually Transmitted Infection In Women Presenting To An Emergency Department
- Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Management in Women: A Review
- Genetic Risk For Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections In Humans: A Systematic Review
- Urinary Tract Infections In Children: Why They Occur And How To Prevent Them
- Recurrent UTIs in Women: How You Can Refine Your Care
- Drinking More Water Reduces Repeat Urinary Tract Infections
- Structure-based discovery of glycomimetic FmlH ligands as inhibitors of bacterial adhesion during urinary tract infection