MORE THAN HALF of all women will get a urinary tract infection at some point in their life, and for many women, the issue will be a reoccurring one. Anyone who’s experienced the burning and endless urge to pee — despite not actually having to pee — would agree that they’d rather not ever see another one if they could help it
Well, according to some research published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, moderate exercise — even walking — might be able to prevent the infection from occurring.
The study took place over a three-year period in Denmark and assessed the exercise habits of 18,874 people. Based on those habits, the participants were ranked into four different groups: sedentary, moderate, low, and high.
Later, the researchers checked back in to see which participants had been prescribed antibiotics within the past year, and why. They found that while 22 percent of the men and 34 percent of the women had taken antibiotics, anyone who exercised at all was 10 percent less likely to need antibiotics than their counterparts in the sedentary group.
This was specifically notable when it came to women and UTIs. Women who were considered light exercisers were 21 percent less likely to get a UTI than women in the sedentary group, while women who were considered moderate exercisers were 32 percent less likely. (Which is interesting, since people who workout more are also more likely to hang out in sweaty workout clothes, a behavior which can be linked to a higher susceptibility to UTI.)
What this means is that, even if the extent of your “working out” is taking long romantic walks around the block with your dog, you’d still be doing better for your lady parts than you would be just sitting on the couch doing nothing. Good work.
In addition to staying active, there are a lot of other ways to help prevent UTIs. Changing out of sweaty gym clothes ASAP is one way, as is staying hydrated, making sure to wipe front to back, avoiding sugar, peeing after sex, and peeing in general as opposed to holding it too long.
In case you didn’t already know, UTIs are caused by one of two things: bacteria getting shoved up the urethra, or when bacteria that’s already in the bladder decides to have a party without getting permission. That’s why both external and internal habits matter.
Flushing out the bladder regularly by drinking water and peeing when you need to pee will dilute the urine so that there’s less time for bacteria to grow. It’s a good idea to pee after sex even if you don’t think that you need to, since the act of intercourse can shove some bacteria from the vagina into the urethra. Additionally, lubricated condoms can increase the risk. Which of course does NOT mean skip the glove, but rather keep it– and then go to the bathroom afterwards to flush anything out. That, or go for a walk.