The chances are high that you will have a urinary tract infection (UTI) at some point. Due to our anatomy, women have more than a 50% chance of having a urinary tract infection during their lifetime. Infections translate into about 8.1 million visits to the doctor each year, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
If you are postmenopausal, your likelihood of having a urinary tract infection increases. "In women after menopause, an average of one UTI per year is quite common," says Kavita Mishra, MD, a urogynecologist at the University of California, San Francisco. Changes in the pH of the vagina can alter the balance of bacteria and yeasts in postmenopausal women and facilitate the entry of bacteria into the urethra.
"Urinary tract infections are also quite common among sexually active women," adds Mishra, though peeing before and after sex can help prevent their onset. Women with diabetes are also more likely to have a urinary tract infection because of the impact of the disease on the immune system. (These are the 8 most common causes of urinary tract infection.)
Knowing what to look for and what to do about it can help you stay comfortable and prevent a urinary tract infection from turning into a serious infection – here are eight symptoms to watch for: