Urinary tract infections are the curse of the female class. That not to say blokes don't get them, it's just more frequent in women because the urethra is short and bacteria have less of a climb.
Some people get loads of UTIs but others seem immune. Why is this and what can you do if you suffer?
Doctors say more than three UTIs a year is frequent.
The anal and vaginal openings are close in women and it's easy for 'poo' bacteria to transfer. Obviously if you're switching between the traditional entrance and t'other you're more likely to get infected.
Some unfortunate people have a gene that allows bacteria to stick to their bladder, but before you threaten your parents, remember they suffered too. Probably around about the time you were conceived. You're welcome to that image.
An ingredient in condoms called nonoxynol-9 may cause abrasions around the urethra which allows bacteria in. It's also thought that the Pill can be a factor in frequent UTIs because the drop in estrogen might lead to an inability to kill bacteria off. And speaking of estrogen...
Menopause may encourage UTIs due to the estrogen drop. Being a girl is a right pain.
If you have diabetes, an autoimmune disease or an illness that hinders the immune system you may not fight bacteria so well.
Kidney stones can lead to UTIs. Your GP may send you for a scan if you have frequent infections to rule out stones.
If you have a UTI your doctor is likely to prescribe antibiotics, but obviously you don't want to take loads of those. Here are some ways you can try to prevent frequent UTIs.
Peeing after sex washes out bacteria, just like boiling oil flushing the enemy down a medieval castle wall.
There's some evidence that cranberry juice prevents infection but nothing conclusive. If you like it, drink up because the more fluids you take in the better. You can also try drinking a glass of water after sex to flush out bacteria. So what you'll be up in the night? It's better than getting a thorn-tipped hell-burning UTI.
Always wipe front to back. Not wiping poo on your lady bits is common sense but you'd be surprised how many grown women do it. It's more convenient to reach forward between the legs I guess.
For obvious reasons. If you're using toys, clean them so you don't transfer the bacteria.
If you think contraception might be an issue your GP will have lots of options, but remember that condoms are the only way to prevent STIs, so stick with them and check the ingredients - see above!
Perfumed products upset the pH of your vagina and cause all kinds of problems. Antibacterial ingredients like lavender and tea-tree can trigger cystitis AND thrush - a more painful combination than watching someone with an Apple watch pay for coffee.
If you are suffering frequent infections it's a good idea to take a look at your sexual habits and wiping procedures. Sometimes sorting the little things produces the best results.