5 Non-Sex Causes of Urinary Tract Infection

November 16th 2015
Allison Gilchrist, Associate Editor
Allison Gilchrist, Associate Editor

Urinary tract infection is a common reason women seek acute care in retail clinics, but sex is not always the cause.

Urinary tract infections (UTI) isa common reasonwomen seek acute care in retail clinics, but sex is not always the cause.

UTIs are most common among sexually active women. Approximately 50% of women will develop a UTI in their lifetime, and a quarter of them will experience UTI recurrence.

Retail clinicians should take the time to counsel patients on the many different causes for the infection. Offering advice about certain behavioral changes may even help patients reduce their risk of recurring UTIs.

Here are some non-sex causes of UTIs:

1. Sugar

Having too much sugar in your diet can lead to a spike in blood sugar, which in turn may cause the kidneys to process sugar into the urine. Bacteria may then use the sugar as a food source to thrive in the urinary tract.

This is also why diabetics with poorly controlled blood sugar levels have a predisposition for UTIs.

2. Diaphragms

Although contraceptives are inherently sex-related, many women don’t realize how their preferred birth control method may be affecting their propensity for developing a UTI.

Diaphragms increase the risk for UTIs because the products’ positioning inside the vagina puts pressure on the urethra.

3. Dehydration

Without fluids, bacteria are left to grow uninhibited in the urinary tract. Staying hydrated and urinating more often flushes out these bacteria before they are able to take hold and grow.

To avoid dehydration, retail clinicians should recommend that patients drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily.

Patients takingOTC antihistaminesto treat other ailments should also be made aware of the fact that the medication has been linked to less-frequent urination, so extra water intake would be needed to maintain an adequate level of hydration.

4. Holding in urine too long

Patients should be advised to urinate as soon as they have the urge to do so in order to minimize the risk of developing a UTI. The longer urine sits in the bladder, the longer bacteria have to grow in the urinary tract.

5. Pregnancy

Pregnant women have an increased likelihood for UTIs because their hormonal changes cause the bladder muscle to relax, which delays urination.

Additionally, pregnant women have a decreased ability to fight off infections in general, which leaves them more susceptible to UTIs.

Retail clinicians should advise pregnant women to seek medical attention if they suspect that they have a UTI, because an untreated UTI can cause pregnancy complications.

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