Are Urinary Tract Infections More Common During the Summer?
For most people, summertime is all about enjoying a barbecue, relaxing at the beach, or simply spending more time with friends and family. Unfortunately, sometimes all your fun summer plans are unexpectedly ruined by the sudden appearance of a urinary tract infection (UTI). While a UTI can happen at any time of year, there’s an increased chance of getting one during the summer months.
Understanding UTI Causes
UTIs happen when bacteria enter the body via the urinary tract and settle in the bladder, where the bacteria multiply into a full-blown infection. This can cause a wide range of uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- A strong need to urinate
- A burning or stinging sensation when urinating
- Strong-smelling urine
- Cloudy urine
- Passing small amounts of urine without much relief
Although anyone can get a UTI, women are far more likely than men to get one, with some studies suggesting that the likelihood of getting a UTI is up to 30 times higher for women than it is for men. This is partially because women have shorter urethras than men do, which means there is a shorter distance for the bacteria to travel.
UTIs are also sometimes caused by certain sexual behaviors and habits. Not only are UTIs more likely among women who are sexually active, but they are also sometimes associated with certain types of birth control that women use, such as diaphragms and spermicidal agents.
Why Summer Increases the Chances of a UTI
There are several factors at play that can make it more likely for you to develop a UTI during the summer months, including:
- Increased moisture. Rising temperatures and humidity alone can serve as ideal breeding conditions for the bacteria that cause UTIs. If you add swimming and sitting around in a moist bathing suit to the mix, you have created a perfect breeding environment for the bacteria to enter the body and take over.
- Dehydration, which happens when we are unable to replenish the amount of water in our bodies. Water plays a critical role in our health, and one of its functions is to flush toxins out of our bodies. In the hot temperatures of the summer, we lose a significant amount of our body’s water through sweat, which is the body’s way of cooling itself off. When we don’t have enough water in our system, we’re unable to flush out the bacteria that cause UTIs.
- Increased sexual activity. Several studies suggest that people are more likely to be sexually active during the summer, especially younger people.
How to Prevent a UTI This Summer
Just because summer is the busiest time of year for UTI-causing bacteria, that doesn’t mean you have to suffer. To avoid a dreaded UTI, try:
- Drinking more water than usual – at least 2.5 liters a day
- Switching up your birth control
- Keeping your vaginal area dry
- Urinating after intercourse
- Scheduling a well-woman exam
To learn more about summertime vaginal health, contact Pacific Women’s Obstetrics & Gynecology today.Back to blog