Why Do I Constantly Get UTIs?

Wed, 11/30/2011 - 09:34
Submitted by Betty Dodson

Hello Dr. Betty,

You've probably heard many questions regarding vaginal health but I don't really have anyone else to ask. I'm 20 years old and I'm kind of ashamed of my.....lower region. My mother has never talked to me about taking care of myself so I kind of feel hopeless. I get constant UTIs, I take two showers a day and I still feel the itching and sometimes burning. The burning and itching is even worst after my period. I did get antibiotics for a recent UTI but the symptoms still persists. I'm not sure if it's my diet, the soap I use, or the occasional masturbation. I've tried unscented soaps body washes and then I tried just cleaning myself with water.....nothing worked. is it possible that not wearing underwear at times can cause frequent UTIs?

I'm really frustrated at this point and I sometimes feel ashamed of myself because I can't take proper care of myself.
Any advice?

Please help,


Dear J,

Unless you are in severe pain avoid antibiotics. My Urologist gave me several rounds of Bactrin but the UTI kept coming back. Also be aware of how you wipe yourself after having a bowel movement. And make sure that no fecal matter is on your underwear or jeans you wear without undies. Too much scrubbing and cleaning of the vagina can wash away the friendly bacteria that lives inside. You don't want to upset the balance of flora and fauna. Consider taking a natual remedy like D-Manos or cranberry juice in pill form. When I was plagued by UTI's the white powder of D-Manose worked wonders. It's a simple sugar similar to cranberry that isn't used for energy so it flushes out the urinary tract. Also drink lots of wataer.  After having penetration sex, be sure to urinate. Although it's not widely known in the US, urine is antiseptic and has been used for healing purposes. Carefully wash your hands before masturbating and request your boyfriend do the same including his penis. Keep all sex toys clean. A more alkaline diet helps in all healing processes. Also take advantage of D&R's website. Most important is to stop blaming yourself for being human. Selflove can go a long way in making us feel better.

Dr. Betty

Liberating women one orgasm at a time

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sounds like thrush?....

Wed, 11/30/2011 - 15:38
FlameGirl (not verified)

J, my heart goes out to you... I struggled with the same symptoms for over a year. My issue has been thrush - nothing more sinister than that - but because it kept recurring it had to be treated carefully and it was only when I finally went to a specialist gyno that I finally found some answers. My prescription was 50 mg fluconazole daily for 4 weeks plus a low strength anti fungal cream/steroid. After about 2 weeks it had cleared up, apparently it takes a while for the drugs to activate within the liver. A one-off thrush pill was never enough for me, some people need more. Make sure you get tested for STIs, bacterial vaginosis etc. As for washing, try a product called Epiderm, available from pharmacies. My gyno recommended it. Avoid tight trousers, biological washing powders, glycerine based lubes, never mix vaginal and anal penetration..... Good luck, keep your chin up and get the help you need.


Wed, 11/30/2011 - 16:23
Brittany (not verified)

For 3 years I had horrible, recurring UTI's. Montly these things hit after a night of intense intercourse & within 30 minutes I was curled into a ball pulling my hair out. Yes I was washing immediately after, living on cranberry pills, drinking water & exercising etcetcetc. Switching doctors 4 times only resulted in the same rounds of anti-biotics & repetative rudimentary tips.
I FINALLY found an amazing Dr. at a Urology Association. After determing the type of bacteria present, he put me on a round of anti-biotics, completely different than what I had ever been given in the previous 3 years. A few weeks later though, it happened again? He was very persistant & after countless urinalysis, cultures, & tests he decided a cytoscopy was necessary.  You can read about it here: 
As soon as the procedure was over, he tole me I had Urethritis, which is a swelling & irritation of the urethra. And the reason antibiotics have not cured it is because the bacteria is dwelling right at the opening of where the bladder attaches to the urethra." Apparently the location of the bacteria, however small or large is very persistant & hard to rid. In the end he put me on 2 rounds of anti-biotics & steroids & within 2 months I was finally healed! 
I am not a doctor, but from my personal experience, I know how frustrating recurant UTI's are mentally & how damaging antibiotics are to your body; When you must take them, be sure to make it count! I would find a referral to a Urologist lady. Good luck!

The only thing I can add to this

Wed, 11/30/2011 - 21:02

We deal with a lot of patients who have recurrent UTI's and some of the things recommended are for patients to drink lots of water to help flush out the bladder and to avoid caffeine (although that might be if urinary frequency is the main complaint). Going on endless courses of antibiotics won't work, it will either cause you to have resistant organisms or get a fungal UTI. We had a patient who required both an antifungal and an antibiotic delivered intravenously, it wasn't very fun for her. Yogurt with active cultures is also a good thing.
Brittany, I feel for you. While my symptoms are usually not like yours, I have to limit the amount of penetration because I always feel kind of sore around my urethra for a couple of days afterwards (this is a fairly new problem). I think it's just a matter of anatomy, looking at my vulva, I really can't imagine a way to have partner sex without my husband bumping against my urethra.
I really need to follow my own advice, I have not been drinking enough water and my urine has been way too dark which lends towards discomfort. I hope you feel better J.

might be worth trying this

Thu, 12/01/2011 - 00:23
Amber (not verified)

Dear J,
I feel for you! When I had chronic UTI's from age 18-19 they were still prescribing amoxicillin. My mom never talked to me about it either- the doctor had to tell me to wipe "front to back" and ask if I was sexually active. I think it was likely due to my partner's lack of hygiene and too much friction (ie no lube!). I had one for the first time in over a decade this summer and they went straight to the nasty broad-spectrum antibiotics - and it came back two weeks later! I looked online and found out that the bacteria that causes UTI's often "burrows" into the walls of the bladder where antibiotics can't reach it, only to return. Well, this time I wasn't going to deal with that so I decided to boost my immune system with one clove of raw garlic (crushed, diced, and left for 10 minutes - then taken on a spoon with honey) twice a day, plus cranberry pills and LOTS of water. I'm not sure which helped most, but I started to feel better within 2 days and kept up the routine for over a week. My breath was stinky, but it was worth it! It's been several months and I haven't had a reaccurance. You might also try black elderberry extract (I think it's called sombucus) - there is research on pub-med showing it to boost immune function. All of these things can be done in conjunction with antibiotics if you continue that route. I hope this helps a little and that you feel better soon!

looking for comment

Thu, 12/01/2011 - 18:04
Anonymous44 (not verified)

I posted a really long comment yesterday when this article was first on the blog that I think will help people, I was just checking if the moderators actually received it, otherwise I will post it again thanks.


Fri, 12/02/2011 - 00:48
D_22 (not verified)

Try taking an acidophilus tablet every day. They're available in the herbal supplement aisle at grocery stores & pharmacies, right next to the vitamins.
It's a freeze dried form of the healthy good bacteria that naturally occurs in the digestive tract and vagina. It's inside a capsule (pill form) that you just take once a day with a meal. This should help lessen your symptoms at the least. At the most it could be the answer to your prayers!
I used to get lots of UTI's too. I swear that little infection is the bane of womanhood. Forget periods! They don't make it burn when you pee.
Also I suggest quitting soft drinks. They're awful for you in a ton of ways and they only make urinary infection symptoms worse. They dehydrate you and they're full of sugars you don't need. If you truly need a sugary beverage with flavor just go for a juice. Better yet eat an actual fruit with a glass of water. Sounds drastic, but bit by bit the healthier you get the better you'll feel. ♦Anyhow good luck with the whole thing!

Caregiver experience with Foley catheter in female with UTI

Walter's picture
Tue, 02/05/2013 - 16:45

Time: Sunday, 3:30 AM. 
My wife, Nancy, calls me saying she has pain in her bladder.Get up and give her 100 ml of water through her PEG tube.

4:00.  Check her Foley’s drain line.  See that no new urine has been produced indicating a plug in the tubing.  Because of an infection which produces“sediment”, the Foley carries much of it out but over time some does collects up at the entrance.

4:30:  Get a syringe, saline solution, gloves, gauze sponge and a pan together.  Disconnect the Foley from the drain tube and try to push the saline solution back up into the bladder.  This is called irrigation.  At first, the saline moves into the tube, and when the syringe plunger is pulled back some urine and sediment flows into the syringe.  Try this several time.  Eventually the urine stops and I can’t push any more saline into the tube.  This tells me the Foley completely plugged.

6:00:  Call our home health nurse.  She tells me I should
deflate the Foley’s balloon that is inside the bladder, and remove the
Foley.  Then call the on-call nurse.

6:15:  With a 20 ml syringe, I attach it to the Foley’s fill port and remove the inflating fluid
from the balloon.  Removing the Foley from
her bladder resulted in a rush of urine down her legs and onto the bedding.

 6:30:  Call the on-call nurse and leave a message.

 11:00:  The on-call nurse calls and tells me she is on her way. 
I give her a list of the supplies we have and things we need.  We had the Foley and the insertion kit but no drain bag.  She had one with her.

 11:45:  The nurse arrives.  We place a pillow under Nancy’s

right hip to position her better for the insertion.  I work with her to get her contracted left
leg away from the right leg and open her up.  The nurse lubricates the tip of the Foley, swabs the vulva with iodine.  I continue to work on getting
Nancy’s legs open and get have her relax, breath and sing a happy song.  The nurse opens her vulva, finds the urethra opening and inserts the Foley.  It is successful
and we see urine flowing out.  Sometimes it takes more than one try.

12:00:  The nurse leaves and I start cleaning up all the used medical things.  After that it’s time to change the bedding.

 Tuesday, the Foley has been working well, Nancy does not
feel any pain and she is producing close to two liters of urine in a 24 hour
period.  We should be good for several weeks.

You may ask why we are not treating the UTI.  We have in the past and her doctor is worried

that common bacteria causing the infection will become antibiotic resistant and
then we’d be in bigger trouble.


Wed, 02/06/2013 - 00:54

Walter, I have helped my wife through many years of medical problems including kidney dialysis, a transplant, and now an injury that requires daily care and has kept her in a wheelchair for months. I truly, truly empathize and wish you and your wife the best.