Another UTI? Why is this happening?

By Amy K. Virtuwell Physician Assistant

Time saver 3 min read

Remember your first bladder infection? You weren’t quite sure what was going on. But you knew you had to go – it was urgent and you didn’t want to be too far from the bathroom. Then when you actually went, it burned to the point you were making noises – like wincing hisses and open mouth groans.

And until you went to the doctor, you weren’t quite sure what it was. But you knew you couldn’t deal with it too long. It’s not the kind of pain you want to try and wait out.

Yep, it’s a bladder infection.

So your diagnosis was a UTI – urinary tract infection. You’re not alone. One in 5 women will have at least one UTI in her lifetime. In fact, UTIs contribute to nearly 10 million doctor visits each year.

Bladder infection vs. urinary tract infection

    While the terms bladder infection and urinary tract infection (UTI) are often used interchangeably, not all UTIs are bladder infections. A UTI is an infection in one or more places in the urinary tract which includes the ureters, kidneys, urethra, and bladder. So while a bladder infection is a type of UTI, UTIs encompass other infections.

And after your visit, when the antibiotic starts working, you almost forget there was any pain at all... until you get another infection.

So the real question is, why? Why is this happening more than once? Why do you find yourself running for the restroom again?

Common Causes for Repeat Bladder Infections

First, there’s some common causes of bladder infections, and one, or a combination, could increase your chance of getting a UTI.

  • Bacteria entering the urethra after sex
  • Changes in estrogen levels during your cycle or menopause
  • An atypical urinary tract shape
  • A genetic predisposition (thanks mom!)
  • Dehydration or not emptying your bladder enough
  • Kidney stones
  • Recent stomach bug

Tips and Tricks That May Help Prevent Future Bladder Infections

Maybe you’ve heard these, but there are some preventive tips that can help keep another bladder infection from sending those burning signals.

  • Drink water (at least 64 ounces) throughout the day – frequent urination can help flush out bacteria
  • After peeing, wipe front to back – sage advice that we hope you’re following
  • Take showers instead of baths – and use a mild soap
  • Choose a birth control option other than a diaphragm and spermicide – that combo can kill off the good bacteria, increasing the bad bacteria which can find its way to the urethra
  • Pee as soon as possible after sex
  • Skip the scented feminine products and deodorant sprays - they’re not worth it

This again? There's a simple way to get relief.

Even if you’re doing your best to keep another UTI from happening, you can still find yourself with those familiar symptoms. So now what?

An online clinic can be faster than urgent care or other clinics. When we’re treating recurring bladder infections, our nurse practitioners know what’s typical. Your symptoms will tell us if it’s another UTI and we watch for any signs that tell us it might be more serious.

Bladder infection treatment without a urine sample

If you’re wondering how a UTI can be treated without a sample, you’re not alone. It’s one of the top questions we hear.

Women are used to peeing in the cup, passing it through the tiny window, and standing by for confirmation. That test reveals there is bacteria, but doesn’t confirm the type of bacteria for a few days. What we do know is that 80 to 90 percent of bladder infections are caused by a single type of bacteria. So your doctor is sending you home with a prescription to treat a common UTI. Our treatment plans include the same prescriptions, based on the same science.

Common UTI symptoms

  • The urge to go to the bathroom – urinating frequently
  • A burning sensation when you go
  • Cloudy urine
  • Sometimes a tinge of pink or red from blood in your urine
  • An uncomfortable feeling in your lower abdomen

UTIs never happen at a good time. We have customers starting a visit from home, from work, even on their honeymoons. Many have literally finished the visit at the airport, and picked up the prescription when they landed. We’d call that first class service.


Amy K.

Physician Assistant for Virtuwell

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