Recurrent urinary tract infection in women

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307 Scopus citations


Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI) are common among young healthy women even though they generally have anatomically and physiologically normal urinary tracts. Women with recurrent UTI have an increased susceptibility to vaginal colonization with uropathogens, which is due to a greater propensity for uropathogenic coliforms to adhere to uroepithelial cells. Risk factors for recurrent UTI include sexual intercourse, use of spermicidal products, having a first UTI at an early age, and having a maternal history of UTIs. Inherited factors may be important in some women with recurrent UTI. Many factors thought to predispose to recurrent UTI in women, such as pre- and post-coital voiding patterns, frequency of urination, wiping patterns, and douching have not been proven to be risk factors for UTI. In contrast to the predominantly behavioral risk factors for young women, mechanical and/or physiological factors that affect bladder emptying are most strongly associated with recurrent UTI in healthy postmenopausal women. The management of recurrent UTI is the same as that for sporadic UTI except that the likelihood of infection with an antibiotic resistant uropathogen is higher in women who have received recent antimicrobials. Strategies to prevent recurrent UTI in young women should include education about the association of recurrent UTI with frequency of sexual intercourse and the usage of spermicide-containing products. Continuous or post-coital prophylaxis with low-dose antimicrobials or intermittent self-treatment with antimicrobials have all been demonstrated to be effective in managing recurrent uncomplicated UTIs in women. Estrogen use is very effective in preventing recurrent UTI in post-menopausal women. Exciting new approaches to prevent recurrent UTI include the use of probiotics and vaccines. Further understanding of the pathogenesis of UTI will lead to more effective and safer methods to prevent these frequent infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-268
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Antimicrobial Agents
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 23 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Preventive measures
  • Recurrent UTI
  • Vaginal colonization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Microbiology
  • Parasitology
  • Virology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases


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