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Why does it hurt to urinate?

Have you experienced symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI)? Common symptoms include burning with urination, pelvic pressure, urinary urgency and frequency, and pelvic and/or abdominal pain. UTIs can come with additional symptoms, but the ones listed above are more common.

Are you someone who is prone to UTIs? Have you ever wondered why it happens or what the cause is? UTIs are caused by bacteria entering any part of the urinary system. Bacteria can enter the urinary system multiple ways. Understanding what the culprit is will help you prevent frequent UTIs.

Common causes of UTIs

  • Having sex can increase risk of UTIs. One way to avoid this is to urinate soon after intercourse. Also, remember to wipe from front to back to make sure you are not moving bacteria from anus towards the urethra and vagina. Women have a shorter urethra than men so less distance for bacteria to travel before it reaches the bladder.

  • Use of feminine hygiene products or lubricants can irritate the vagina and urethra. Consider products without perfumes, scents, and irritating ingredients such as glycerin.

  • Bacteria likes warm moist places, so after a workout, try to change out of your wet clothes as soon as possible. If you are someone who sweats pretty easily, moisture in the underwear around genital region can increase the risk of bacteria build-up. Consider a change of underwear mid-day.

  • Drinking water more frequently helps to dilute your urine. This helps you empty your bladder more frequently so bacteria can be flushed out. Holding your urine all day at work can likely increase your chances of UTIs for this reason.

  • There are some causes which are outside your control such as having a catheter placed or urinary procedure done. Also, pregnant women and women in menopause also experience increased risk of UTIs. Even though there is more risk related to these situations, you can always do something to decrease your risk and to manage the symptoms.


Most commonly, UTIs are managed with antibiotics. However, prevention is key.

  • Drink plenty of water to dilute urine

  • Wipe from front to back

  • Urinate soon after sexual intercourse

  • Avoid using feminine hygiene products and lubricants with irritants

  • If your underwear is wet from sweat or leaked urine, change it soon

Some individuals can continue to experience symptoms associated with bladder infections well after the infection has been managed. This can be related to changes at the cellular/tissue level which occur from chronic inflammation from frequent UTIs. You may need to speak to a pelvic health therapist to help you manage these residual symptoms if it has caused overactive pelvic floor muscles or development of poor toileting habits. Schedule a Discovery Call with Katy to discuss if physical therapy can help or if a visit to your physician is recommended.

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