Simply put, urinary tract infections are caused by a breach in the body's natural defense system, which causes an overgrowth in bacteria in any part of the urinary tract such as the urethra, bladder, or kidneys.
Unfortunately, this definition doesn't necessarily explain the underlying causes of a urinary tract infection. So let's dig a little deeper to understand what could cause an overgrowth of bacteria in the first place.
What causes bacterial overgrowth that leads to UTIs?
First and foremost, it's necessary that we understand what makes bacteria thrive. It might be gross to think about, but bacteria are basically tiny little animals — or microorganisms — that require certain conditions in order to stay alive. While they're quite adaptable to diverse environments, there are certain specific conditions that cause their reproduction to go into overdrive, and causing overgrowth.
These conditions are:
- Warm temperatures — unfortunately for us, that's close to our body temperature
- Moisture — just like us, bacteria need to stay hydrated
- Environmental pH — some like more acidic environments or more alkaline environments
- Oxygen — that's why we vacuum-seal food to slow bacterial growth
What does this mean for UTIs? Unfortunately, our bodies are very good breeding grounds for bacteria. While we have a little army of our own, sometimes the conditions are just so perfect that the enemy wins. So the key is to keep your urinary tract from becoming too good a home to these little guys. Luckily, there are some very simple tricks that will prevent UTIs from happening, if you're not a chronic sufferer.
Chronic or recurring UTIs
In some cases, there seems to be no simple trick that will prevent urinary tract infections from coming back. A small portion of the population suffers from urinary tract infections on a recurring basis — either every few months or weeks.
If this is your situation, and you've tried every trick in the book (like drinking more water and peeing after sex, for instance), there's a high chance that there's something bigger at work, here.
In order to successfully prevent urinary tract infections from coming back, it's importing to find out what's causing them in the first place.
Other common causes of urinary tract infections: