With summer comes a load of school-free fun and the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors during the long-awaited summer vacation, a time to dive into the pool or ocean to cool off and catch a little sun. However, for women the season also comes with an increased likelihood of encountering a UTI. Women are already 4 times more likely to contract a UTI than men, and during the summer this number skyrockets. This is largely due to prolonged exposure to the water in pools, lakes and other bodies of water during trips that involve swimming. Understanding how swimming can contribute to the formation of a UTI is the first step towards being able to prevent one this summer.
How a UTI Happens
A UTI occurs when too much “bad” bacteria begins growing and spreading inside of the bladder. This issue is far more common among women than men simply because the vagina grows and propagates more bacteria due to its ability to retain moisture and the presence of a shorter urethra, which allows the bacteria to travel to the bladder more quickly. UTIs can be directly linked to BV, or bacterial vaginosis, a bacterial infection that results from the growth of too much “bad” bacteria and not enough of the “good” bacteria to counteract it.
How Swimming Contributes to Development
While swimming in any body of water heightens the likelihood of developing a UTI, the threat is most present in pools, especially public ones. Water is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, and with adults and children alike entering the pool all day long, there’s an unhealthy buildup in the often lukewarm water. When you enter the water, you come into contact with a number of bacterial particles too small to notice with the naked eye, including vomit, fecal matter and urine, especially in pools that are frequented by small children. While the pool water itself isn’t likely to cause a UTI, this bacteria get caught in the folds of tight-fitting swimsuits and begins to propagate and spread. It’s this spread that can ultimately lead to a UTI.
Preventing a UTI
Fortunately, you don’t need to completely cut out swimming from your summer schedule in order to avoid UTIs. There are a few things you can do to reduce the likelihood of encountering this health issue while still enjoying this irreplaceable bit of outdoor fun:
- Invest in an everyday natural UTI prevention product
- Shower thoroughly both before and after swimming
- Try not to stay in a wet, tight-fitting bathing suit after you’re done swimming
- Consider bringing a change of clothes along if you plan to be out and about for a while after swimming
Salvaging Your Trip
If you do happen to pick up a UTI while swimming, it doesn’t have to destroy the remainder of your vacation. Talk to your doctor about the best home remedy for UTIs before you head out on your trip and take some emergency urinary tract support supplies with you before you head out, just in case.
Yes, swimming can increase your chances of developing a UTI, but you don’t have to let that defeat you. Taking the right preventative measures and preparing to face the problem head-on can help you enjoy the entirety of your trip without sacrificing even an instant of swimming.