Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can affect anyone, regardless of gender or hygiene practices. These infections can develop in various parts of the urinary system, including the bladder, urethra and even kidneys.

While UTIs have often been associated with women, it is important to dispel this myth and recognize they can happen to anyone.

Why are UTIs only linked to women?

The misconception that UTIs are exclusively linked to women is unfounded and inaccurate.

"For years, women were told that UTIs were related to their cleanliness, but they're not," Dr. Barbara W. Trautner, a physician at Houston's Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told Readers Digest.

While it is true that women tend to experience UTIs more frequently due to anatomical factors, such as having a shorter urethra, they can occur in people of any gender.

Another contributing factor is the proximity of the urethral opening to the anus in women's bodies. This creates a possibility for bacteria, particularly E. coli, to migrate from the anal region to the urethra.

Several other misconceptions surrounding UTIs exist. Here's why they aren't true.

UTI doesn't cause delirium in seniors

Dr. Trautner said the evidence around the claim is inconclusive. She said a common fever caused by UTI could cause some sort of confusion, but that could signal something else, like an underlying brain disease, taking multiple medications, malnutrition, untreated pain or organ failure.

Adding to the confusion, it is common for bacteria to be present in the urine of older adults without causing harm. This condition, called asymptomatic bacteriuria, usually does not require treatment.

Cleaning the vagina with soap and water can cure UTIs

Cleaning the vagina with soap and water does not prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). It can instead disrupt the natural pH and bacterial balance of the vagina. The vagina is a self-cleaning organ, equipped with its own mechanisms to maintain cleanliness and health. Using cleansing products, douches or wipes can potentially introduce irritants and disrupt the delicate vaginal setting. So, gentle cleaning is recommended to keep UTIs at bay, according to Health Shots.

Antibiotics aren't completely effective

Although antibiotics are the recommended treatment for UTIs, there is a significant risk of recurrence, particularly among women. In fact, about one in four women may experience a second UTI within six months. One reason for recurrence is the increasing problem of antibiotic resistance. This means that the bacteria causing the infection become less responsive to the antibiotics prescribed, making them less effective.

Cranberry juice can treat UTIs

Cranberry juice and cranberry supplements may help prevent recurring UTIs in some individuals, but there is insufficient evidence to support their effectiveness in treating active UTIs.

Cranberry products, such as juice and supplements, contain compounds that may interfere with the bacteria's ability to stick to the urinary tract and reduce inflammation, potentially reducing the risk of UTI recurrence. However, more research is needed to fully understand their impact and determine the specific components responsible for their potential benefits, according to Healthline.

Engaging in frequent sexual activity will make you more susceptible to UTI

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) primarily result from bacterial infection in the urinary system. While sexual intercourse can increase the risk, various other factors can make one susceptible to UTIs.

Taking preventive measures such as urinating before and after sex can help reduce the risk. Furthermore, consulting with your healthcare provider can help determine if preventive antibiotics or over-the-counter medications are suitable for your specific needs and circumstances, according to Good RX Health.

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Uqora creates UTI relief products to slow the progression of the infection. Uqora