The typical symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) include painful, urgent, and frequent urination, which may come with foul-smelling urine with a cloudy colour. The issue typically goes away after a round of antibiotics, but for some people, the symptoms return just a few months later. If you are among those that experience recurrent UTI, read on to know its underlying cause and its implications for your health.
Women and older adults are at higher risk of recurrent UTI
Doctors diagnose UTIs as recurrent if they occur three to four times a year. Thankfully, infections that keep coming back are usually nothing to be concerned about. This is especially true for older adults and women who experience frequent UTIs at all ages. While men can also be affected by UTIs, their case indicates there is something blocking urination, such as an enlarged prostate or kidney stones. Also, their infections are generally not recurring.
UTIs stem from E. coli and other bacteria affecting the urethra, uterus, and kidneys. Thus, the anatomy of the female body is the main reason women can get UTIs so often. Because of pH changes, women in their post-menopausal stage are also at higher risk and susceptible to infection.
Overall, the odds of both men and women getting UTIs increases as they age. Certain medical conditions, such as an enlarged prostate in men and bladder prolapse in women, cause an issue in older adults wherein they do not fully empty their bladder, leaving urine that promotes bacterial growth.
Why UTIs come back even after treatment
There are many oral antibiotics used to treat a urinary tract infection. At times, a virtual doctor in Singapore will prescribe a certain drug and switch to a different one after a urine culture test identifies the exact bacteria causing the infection. Adjusting to this new medication takes time, during which recurring infections may arise.
There are also cases when a patient starts to feel better and stops using antibiotics despite their doctor’s instructions, prompting another infection to take place. As such, it is always recommended to continue your medication until your prescribed dosage is complete. If infections persist, your healthcare provider may test you for other potential health problems affecting your bladder, kidneys, and other parts of the urinary system.
How to prevent frequent infections
There are preventative measures to reduce your susceptibility to UTIs, starting with drinking plenty of fluids to promote regular urination and flush out bacteria.
For women, it is also important to adopt good hygiene practices such as:
- Wearing cotton underwear.
- Urinating immediately before and after sexual activity.
- Wiping from front to back after bowel movement to prevent E. coli bacteria from moving to the urethra.
- Avoiding feminine deodorants for use in the genital area.
For older adults, it is recommended to urinate twice to deal with ‘retention problems’, which become prevalent with age.
Getting frequent urinary tract infections may sound alarming initially, but it is usually nothing serious and common among women and older adults. That said, dealing with it after every few months can still be difficult, so it is essential to follow good hygiene and consult your doctor on the preventative measures you can take.
If you need professional help managing recurrent urinary tract infections, get an online medical consultation today via MYCLNQ, the leading app for telemedicine in Singapore. In just a few clicks, gain access to the key medical services you need from the comfort of your home, including private ambulance services, doctor consultations, and supervised COVID-19 home testing. For more details, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any time.