All About Chronic UTIs: Risk Factors, Treatment Options, and Prevention

Oct 01, 2023
All About Chronic UTIs: Risk Factors, Treatment Options, and Prevention
Are you having trouble kicking those UTIs to the curb? If so, we’ve put together everything you need to about chronic, or recurring, UTIs here.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are incredibly common among people who live in the United States. In fact, studies show that it’s the second most common infection with 8 million people seeking medical care for a UTI each year. 

A UTI occurs when there’s an infection in the organs of your urinary tract. So, this includes your bladder, kidneys, and urethra. Typically, you can treat a UTI on your own at home; however, it’s always possible that the infection can settle in your kidneys and lead to complications.

UTIs can also be chronic, meaning that they continue to come back or they don’t fully go away with standard treatment. Our team led by Serge Lartchenko, MD, at the Texas Infectious Disease Institute located in Richardson, Texas, specialize in infectious diseases, including chronic UTIs.

We’ve put together a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about chronic UTIs including what puts you at risk, how they’re treated, and how to keep them from coming back.

Common risk factors for chronic UTIs

Anything that irritates your urinary tract or keeps you from being able to empty your bladder fully can lead to the development of a UTI. These are some things that can greatly increase your risk of a chronic UTI:

  • Gender: Women are more likely to develop chronic UTIs than men since the urethra is so close to the rectum in women
  • Lifestyle choices: Using diaphragms can make it difficult to empty your bladder and using vaginal douches or spermicides can change the bacterial makeup of the vagina, both of which lead to chronic UTIs
  • Menopause: The hormonal changes that happen during menopause make chronic UTIs more likely

In addition, having kidney stones or a weakened immune system can greatly increase your risk of chronic UTIs.

How chronic UTIs are treated

To diagnose chronic UTIs, our team does a physical exam, reviews your symptoms, and collects a urine sample. We may also order some imaging tests such as an MRI or a CT scan. 

Typically, we treat UTIs by prescribing oral or intravenous antibiotics and encouraging you to drink plenty of fluids and practice good hygiene. However, if these methods prove unsuccessful, there are other combinations of antibiotics that can treat even the most stubborn UTIs.

Preventing further UTIs

To keep those chronic UTIs from repeatedly coming back, you can practice the following habits:

  • Drink plenty of fluids to flush out bacteria
  • Urinate as often as you need, especially before and after having sex
  • Wear loose fitting clothing and breathable, cotton underwear
  • Try not to use diaphragms or spermicides as birth control methods
  • Always avoid vaginal douches and scented body washes

In addition, after urinating, remember to always wipe back to front to keep bacteria out of your urinary tract. Doing all of these things can significantly decrease your risk for chronic UTIs.

If you struggle with recurrent UTIs, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team for expert treatment. To schedule an appointment with us, call our office at 469-960-4413 or book online today.