UTIs Can Affect Women's Sleep, Fitness, And More, Says New Study

A UTI, or a urinary tract infection, is an infection that occurs in the bladder, urethra, and more rarely, the kidneys, per Mayo Clinic. While anyone can suffer from a UTI, they most often affect women or those with female anatomy, and without treatment, they can lead to serious health issues within the kidneys and beyond. It has been widely thought of as a sexually-transmitted disease, as many women suffer from a UTI following sexual intercourse. However, those who abstain from sex are still in danger of contracting one, as a UTI is caused by the bacteria E.Coli getting into the urinary tract.


According to Medical News Today, most people will notice they have a UTI when urinating becomes painful. In addition to that pain, many people experience more serious symptoms, such as fever, nausea, and chills. A new study has now found, though, that UTIs can affect more than just our urination — they can also cause complete disruption to our daily lives. Here's what you need to know about UTIs and how they may affect you.

How a UTI can disrupt women's lives

If it's not already frustrating enough that women have to worry about contracting UTIs by engaging in activities like intercourse, they may actually be worse than we initially thought. While it's well known that a UTI can cause painful urination and even flu-like symptoms, a new study published in PLOS proves that the symptoms of the infection go far beyond the physical. The study surveyed over 300 women who had recently experienced a UTI, and even though all of the women got their infections treated correctly, their accounts of how their daily lives were impacted were alarming.


Just under 70% of the women said they were unable to have sex without pain during their UTI. Additionally, over 50% said it was harder or impossible to do their normal exercise routine, and over 60% said it made sleeping more difficult. Beyond that, women said it impaired their work productivity and hurt their wallets, as treating a UTI doesn't come cheap. Medical director and gynecologist Dr. Maria Sophocles told Healthline that this study is just the beginning, and now, doctors need to learn how to better serve their patients who experience a UTI to ensure they don't have a lower quality of life because of them.

How to avoid a UTI

If painful urination, sleepless nights, and uncomfortable sex sound like things you want to avoid, there are ways to circumvent a UTI. Unfortunately, some women are more likely to get a urinary tract infection than others. According to the Mayo Clinic, those who are highly sexually active or have new partners frequently are usually at greater risk, as well as those who use a diaphragm or spermicides. Post-menopausal women are also at a higher risk of contracting a UTI due to lower levels of estrogen in their bodies.


If you do find yourself getting frequent UTIs, or even if you've never had one, Healthline recommends always practicing clean bathroom etiquette — yes, your mother was right when she told you to always wipe front to back. Women should also pee when they feel the urge to go, as holding in your pee can cause bacteria to grow, thus forming a UTI. Drinking a good amount of water each day, peeing before and after intercourse, and adding probiotics to your supplement routine are also great ways to ensure you don't halt your life for a few days because of a urinary tract infection.