Why Do I Keep Getting UTIs?

Dear Heather,

A few months ago, I got a urinary tract infection. I took the medicine for it (I forgot two days though), it went away… and then I got it again! Once that one was done, I was okay for a little while… but then I got another one! This summer, I’ve had two other UTIs. What is going on?! This is driving me crazy. Please help. Why do I keep getting UTIs? Is there something wrong with me?

Recurring urinary tract infections are probably more common than you think. A lot of girls suffer with the fact that they’re just more prone to UTIs. While it’s very annoying, frustrating, and painful, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong with you. But you should definitely still look into this issue.

Your mistake was missing two days of your prescription medicine. I’m guessing that’s why you got that second UTI. When you’re given a prescription medication, you have to take it exactly as instructed – missing even one day can make it less effective. I’ve done the same exact thing: I got a UTI, forgot the last two days of medication, and immediately got another one. Whenever you’re prescribed medicine, be very careful about how you take it.

However, this wouldn’t explain the two UTIs you had this summer. It’s possible that something else is going on. You might not even have a urinary tract infection – you could have another type of infection or irritation that is causing the same symptoms. Many doctors assume it’s a UTI, and then they don’t do a pelvic exam to find out if there’s another cause. You could also have an infection in your bladder, and you may need to try a different form of treatment.

In any of these cases, one thing is for sure: you need to see a doctor. Only a doctor can give you the proper tests and diagnose you correctly. Explain exactly how often you’re getting UTIs. Your doctor might be able to give you preventative medicine to stop it from happening.

There are also things you can do on your own to prevent UTIs. Make sure you’re drinking a lot of water – it flushes your system by making you pee, which releases bacteria. If you have to go, don’t hold it in! Waiting a long time to pee can mess up your bladder and cause an infection. Wipe from front to back, never back to front. Always pee right after having sex – don’t wait more than 30 minutes. You can also try taking cranberry pills. Although there’s no scientific evidence that it helps, many women swear by this.

Head over to the doctor before you get another one to try to prevent it from happening. Good luck!

take care,

What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at heather@gurl.com


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Posted in: Help Me Heather, Your Body
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  • Lauren

    If you’re experiencing UTI-like symptoms frequently, especially if you’ve felt like you had a UTI but the urine tests came back negative, you might want to ask your doctor about a condition called interstitial cystitis. It’s relatively common, under-diagnosed and mimics many of the symptoms of a UTI. It took years of misery before I finally really spoke up about my symptoms and got diagnosed. I still have issues but certain medications and dietary changes have improved my life immeasurably.