I once was hanging out with a friend of mine on a subway platform, waiting for the train, and I noticed her do something a little…funny. She was reaching around in her shoulder bag and brought out a mason jar full of red liquid. For a second I was a little shook and wondered WTF she was doing and WTF she was drinking. And then, I pieced it together.
Cranberry juice. She was absolutely downing cranberry juice.
See, this friend of mine gets UTIs constantly. Like, she can barely have sex without getting a UTI, and she has no idea why. While cranberry juice isn’t really a cure for a UTI–it can help prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall, but that’s about it–there are other solutions that might just help prevent chronic UTIs if it’s a problem for you. But first, check out these seven reasons why you might keep getting UTIs in the first place.
You're Holding In Your Pee Too MuchYou might think that holding in your urine, at worst, makes you twitchy and might eff up your kidneys if you do it enough. But it could also contribute to your UTIs if you happen to hold it in often and have UTIs on the regular. When you hold in your urine, bacteria is building up in there, which can make you more prone to an infection. You might not like public bathrooms much, but do you hate them more than a painful UTIs? Probably not. Broad City
You're Not Washing Up BEFORE You Have SexYou've heard that peeing after sex can help flush the urethra, which is often full of harmful bacteria--like e coli--after getting it on. But that's not all you need to do. If you're peeing your heart out post-sex and still getting UTIs, try washing up down there before having sex. That can flush away any latent bacteria just chilling there, waiting to ruin your life, that the urine flush isn't tackling. Pinterest
You're Not Drinking Enough WaterWe all need to drink more water, honestly. But if you have chronic UTIs, it's essential: Drinking water (and then peeing, not holding it in) helps flush bacteria out of your bladder more often. So the more water you drink, the more you're peeing, and the less likely harmful bacteria will hang out in your bladder, biding its time for the perfect moment to strike and give you a nasty UTI. Misfits
You're Relying On Cranberry Juice To Treat Your UTIsLike I said earlier, cranberry juice can perhaps have some antibacterial benefits and prevent harmful bacteria from attaching itself to the bladder wall, but...for the most part, the idea that cranberry juice cures UTIs isn't really supported by any hard science. So if you're relying on that to cure your UTIs, consider, er, not. You would be much better off using an antibiotic prescribed by your doctor than chugging glass after glass of ridiculously tart cranberry juice. Getty Images
Your Lube Isn't Treating You RightConsider trying a new lubricant and see if that makes a difference on the UTI front. Some lubes simply don't react as well on some than others, and maybe you've got one that is irritating your urethra like crazy. Sarah Wintner
A Bacteria From Your Vagina Is Doing Some Damage To Your BladderPeople assume that most UTIs are caused by e coli, and for the most part, it is. That's why you're not supposed to wipe from back to front: You could be dragging e coli (fecal bacteria) into your urethra and causing infection. But here's a fun fact: There's a bacteria in your vagina called Gardnerella vaginalis, which can make its way into your urethra and damage the cells on the surface of your bladder, which can make your UTIs return over and over again. Great. Some Girls
You Don't Actually Have a UTI At AllIt burns when you pee, and you're just assuming it's a UTI. So you keep getting antibiotic treatments for UTIs, you're chugging cranberry juice, you're peeing after every sex session, etc...and nothing changes. Uh, listen...you might not have a UTI at all. You might actually have an STD that you've been treating as a UTI. Please, make sure you get checked out! Fresh Meat
Are UTIs an annoyingly routine part of your life? Tell us in the comments!