We are all ready for the warmer weather and long summer days but as the temperature rises, so does our risk of developing urinary tract infections (UTIs). Urinary tract infections are among the most common infections that women experience, and 60% of women will experience a UTI at least once in their lifetime. 

UTIs occur when bacteria (most commonly caused by bacteria found in the gut called E. coli) travel through the urethra (pee hole) into the bladder. Common symptoms include frequent and strong urge to urinate, burning sensation when urinating, cloudy, bloody, and strong-smelling urine, lower abdominal pain, and sometimes fever and chills.

So why are UTIs more common in the summer? It is not well understood why UTIs occur more frequently in the summer, but several theories exist. Dehydration is more common during the summer. It is important to stay hydrated to help flush out any harmful bacteria from the bladder. A recent study found that when the outdoor temperature reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit, there is a 15% increase in UTIs. The reason is that bacteria are more likely to grow in warm and humid environments. When we think of the summer, we think of the beach, lake, or pool. The moisture from bathing suits and undergarments is a breeding ground for bacteria that can cause UTIs.

So what's a girl to do? 

  • Drink lots of water to dilute your urine and flush out the bladder. 
  • Don't hold in your urine for a long time. Bacteria can sit in the bladder multiple and increase your chance of developing a UTI. 
  • We should all know this, but I'll say it anyway- always wipe from front to back. It is more hygienic and prevents bacteria from the anal area to the vagina and urethra. 
  • Avoid tight and wet clothing. 
  • Always keep dry clothing with you and change immediately after if you plan on spending time in the water or outdoors. 
  • Urinate immediately after sex. It is often a common cause of UTI because the urethra is exposed to bacteria from your partner's genital area. 
  • And, of course, add a probiotic containing lactobacilli which can prevent E.coli and other bacteria from invading the bladder and causing infections.

UTIs are uncomfortable and painful. Following these tips can help prevent a UTI this summer. If you are experiencing any symptoms of a UTI, contact your provider so you can be tested and treated immediately to avoid more serious problems.