Getting a UTI, or a urinary tract infection, is the worst, but what’s even more painful is not being able to figure out how you got one to begin with. But first, it’s important to understand what exactly a UTI is, and how you can be at risk of getting one. DIANA FAITH KEMBABAZI chatted with Dr. Patel Akesh, a primary care provider at One Medical, about all things UTIs. A UTI is an infection that can happen in any part of your urinary system, but most commonly in your urethra, says Dr. Mysore. If you’re noticing a burning sensation, hesitation, or any sort of pain or discomfort when peeing, you might be experiencing from a UTI. Here are all the shocking ways you can get a UTI..

YOU’RE NOT CHANGING YOUR TAMPON FREQUENTLY ENOUGH.If you get UTIs frequently, fi nd that you usually get them around your period and use tampons often, Dr. Akesh suggests trying a sanitary pad instead. She highly recommends changing your tampon (or pad) at least every three to four hours. “Over six hours and you are certainly increasing your risk of any kind of infection, not just UTIs,” she says.

YOU’RE HOLDING IN YOUR BLADDER FOR TOO LONG.Holding in your bladder for a long period of time can build up bacteria and cause a UTI, says Dr. Akesh. “If you feel the urgency to go and you feel like your bladder is full, go!” she says. “On average, if someone is holding in their full bladder for a good two to three hours, they can start to feel a burning sensation or be at risk for a UTI.” Though this reason alone might not directly cause a UTI, it can defi nitely put you at risk of getting one.

YOU HAVE AN ANATOMICAL ISSUE.If you’re seeing a pattern and there’s no other causable reason that’s coming up, you might want to check with a doc and get an ultrasound, says Dr. Akesh. “Anatomical issues in the bladder could possibly be causing frequent UTIs,” she says. But for the most part, UTIs are totally curable! YOU’RE USING

DOUCHES OR VAGINAL DEODORANTS.If you’re more prone to getting UTIs, douches and vaginal deodorants are irritants that can make your vaginal area more vulnerable to bacteria. Dr. Akesh suggests completely avoiding using these products, as they break down the protective barriers we have.

YOU’RE WIPING THE WRONG WAY.Yes, there is a wrong way to wipe — wiping from back to front. According to Dr. Akesh, when you’re using the bathroom, you should always wipe front to back to prevent bacteria from your bowel from getting into your va-jay-jay

Dr Akesh says that if you take long to change your sanitary pad or tampoon during your period, you are at a high risk of contracting a urinary tract infect..

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