Is This Normal? is a weekly series that addresses everything you've ever wondered about sexual health and your body. This week: urinary tract infections.
What causes UTIs?
Certain types of birth control also lead to more UTIs—particularly spermicide and diaphragms. Sometimes preventing future infections is as simple as switching birth control. But women who aren't having sex can also develop UTIs, so abstinence isn't exactly the magic cure. If your bladder isn't emptying all the way (because of some sort of blockage in the urethra, or problems with your pelvic muscles), that can also cause a UTI. Basically, your bladder is usually fine and healthy as long as it's able to push out all of its contents and all the bacteria that might be in there too.
UTIs are recurring.
Women who get UTIs seemingly every single time they have sex probably have a shortened urethra—which is totally normal and doesn't really affect your daily life, aside from the fact that you might get UTIs more easily. If this is you, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic that you can take after sex. The rest of us just need to be really vigilant about going pee after any sort of sexual activity and make sure we're drinking plenty of water.
When UTIs aren't normal, you need to see a doctor.
Before you see your doctor, give yourself a day or two (and a lot of water). Some UTIs are pretty mild and go away without antibiotics in a few hours.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.