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Can Recurrent UTI Lead To Infertility In Women?

Urinary Tract Infections or UTIs refer to an infection caused due to the growth of bacteria in the urine. When bacteria moves up and down the urinary tract, it can result in a serious infection with symptoms like chills, nausea, dark colored urine and burning sensation while peeing. UTIs are more common in women than men because the female urinary tract is comparatively smaller. This is why women need to take extra care of them when it comes to UTIs.

While rare occurrence of UTIs is deemed normal, recurrent UTIs in no way are normal. Recurring UTIs affect your upper tract, that is, the fallopian tubes, uterus and the kidneys and increase the risk of infertility.

What are recurrent UTIs?

Gynecologist Dr Rita Bakshi says that recurrent UTIs refer to three episodes of UTIs in a year. It usually affects women who are going through menopause or who are having frequent or infrequent sex. Keeping too much gap between sexual activities can also increase your risk of recurrent UTIs.

How do recurrent UTIs affect fertility in women?

Dr Bakshi says, “Recurrent UTIs have an impact on both male and female fertility. People with recurrent UTIs suffer from symptoms like burning sensation while peeing, dark urine, inability to void the bladder and more. It occurs mainly in people who hold back urine or who maintain an unhygienic environment down there. It also occurs in people who have a tight urethral opening. Now because the urethra and the bladder are located close to the uterus and vagina, the infection travels back and forth from the urethra when you are washing it along with the anal and vaginal tract. So when you wash from back to front, the bacteria from the anal tract an affect the vaginal tract and the urethra. So it is important to wash from front to back so that the infection doesn’t take place.”

“This affects the fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix and the whole pelvic area, thereby resulting in the pelvic inflammatory disease. This disease is characterized by swelling of the organ. Once the organ is swollen, it can lead to infertility.

This, if it happens rarely, will not have an impact on fertility. However, when UTIs are recurrent, it results in infertility,” she added.

What are the treatment options?

Dr Bakshi gives some treatment options and preventive measures for recurrent UTIs. She says, “For treatment, every person should be drinking two to three liters of water or any other fluid to stay hydrated. Besides this, one must not hold back urine and void their bladder as often as needed. Infections usually multiply when a person holds back urine. And if a person has the symptoms of UTIs very often, proper treatment should be taken for it and medicines should also be consumed regularly.”

(Dr Rita Bakshi is Chairperson of the International Fertility Centre)