Urinary health is certainly not a dinner table topic. In fact, urinary health often goes undiscussed in most scenarios. This doesn’t stop urinary issues such as urinary tract infections from affecting roughly 400 million people globally every year. With their prevalence, it is important to be able to decipher what’s fact versus fiction about urinary tract infections.
We all know not to believe everything we see on the internet. However, here at Alliance Urology, we feel everyone should have access to accurate and reliable information. That’s why we are here to debunk some of the most persistent myths about urinary tract infections.
1. Only Women Can Get UTIs
A common misconception about urinary tract infections is that only women can get them. This is untrue, and plenty of men suffer from UTIs annually. However, this common myth gained traction due to the fact that women are far more susceptible to UTIs than men. 10 in 25 women experience the symptoms of a UTI in their lifetime compared to 3 in 25 men. This is because men have a longer urethra than women, which makes it more difficult for bacteria to spread to the bladder.
2. All UTIs Can Go Away On Their Own
While it is possible for a urinary tract infection to resolve on its own, it is more common for them to persist without medical intervention. UTIs are caused by bacterial infections, and they typically require appropriate treatment. If left untreated, UTIs can progress and spread to the kidneys, leading to more serious complications. To try and prevent UTIs, it is important to stay hydrated, go to the bathroom when necessary, take showers instead of baths, and wipe front to back.
3. UTIs Are Caused From Holding In Your Urine
Everyone, at some point, has to hold their urine occasionally. Holding urine for long periods or delaying urination does not directly cause UTIs. However, it can contribute to the growth of bacteria in the urinary system. It is important to empty the bladder regularly and not resist the urge to urinate, as it helps flush out bacteria and reduce the risk of infection.
4. Cranberry Juice Is A Quick Fix For UTIs
Unfortunately, it turns out that drinking cranberry juice is not as effective as people once thought to believe. This isn’t to say that cranberry juice has no effect, in fact, cranberry juice has ingredients that can help prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of your bladder. However, cranberry juice is not considered a “quick fix” and should not be used as a replacement for medical intervention.
5. UTIs Always Cause Symptoms
Many know the common symptoms of a UTI— pain or burning during urination, feeling the need to urinate despite having an empty bladder or cramping in the lower abdomen. While many UTIs do present with these symptoms, asymptomatic UTIs are possible. Older adults and individuals with underlying health conditions are more likely to be at risk for asymptomatic UTIs. It is important to know this about urinary tract infections in order to detect possible UTIs, especially in the above vulnerable populations.
6. UTIs Can Be Passed To Your Partner
UTIs are often mistaken for a sexually transmitted infection (STI). While an STI can be passed to your partner, a UTI cannot. However, it is important to keep in mind that sexual activity can increase the risk of UTIs in some individuals. It is important to differentiate between UTIs and STIs and seek appropriate treatment for each.
We believe it is important to promote accurate understanding, proper prevention, and timely treatment when it comes to UTIs. For diagnosis and treatment of any problem related to the bladder, reproductive, or genitourinary system, schedule an appointment with one of our providers. Our state-of-the-art services and procedures at Alliance Urology can help alleviate your urologic disorders, including a wide range of urinary conditions. If you have more questions about urinary tract infections, please call our office in Greensboro at (336) 274-1114.