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Recurrent UTIs

Treatments and Prevention Tips for Reccurent UTIs


Updated May 31, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

If you have ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), you've likely already been introduced to its not-so-pleasant, frequent follower -- the recurrent UTI. It follows, then, that bladder infections are all too familiar, too, as their likelihood increases with every UTI you have.

What Causes Recurrent UTIs?

Unfortunately, there's no clear-cut answer for this. Research on the cause of recurrent urinary tract infections is ongoing.

If you experience frequent, recurrent UTIs (three or more times a year), you and your doctor can discuss possible treatment options such as:

  • long-term, daily use of a low-dose antibiotic such as TMP/SMZ or nitrofurantoin
  • taking a single, prescribed antibiotic dose after sexual intercourse
  • taking prescribed antibiotics for 1 or 2 days as soon you notice any symptoms of UTI

If you have recurrent UTIs and bladder infections, you may be interested in purchasing an at-home test for UTI, which is available over-the-counter without a prescription. The presence of bacteria (which signals an infection) changes normal nitrates in your urine to nitrite. If nitrite is present, the dipstick will change color after you urinate on it. The test, which works best when you use it during your first bathroom trip of the morning, is about 90% reliable.

Compare Prices: At-Home UTI Test Kit

Other tips that may help prevent recurrent urinary tract infections include:

  • Regularly drinking cranberry juice
  • Drinking plenty of water every day
  • Taking showers rather than baths
  • Cleansing the vaginal area before and after sexual intercourse
  • Wiping from front to back after bowel movements to help prevent bacteria from the anus from entering the vagina or urethra
  • Avoiding the use of feminine hygiene sprays, powders, and douches
Some doctors also recommend taking vitamin C at the first sign of UTI.


Urinary Tract Infections In Adults. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC.) http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/utiadult/. Accessed 02/24/2010.

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