Health And Wellness

Why Do I Keep Getting UTIs? 4 Real Women Share Their Stories

Photo: getty
collage image of 4 women

U-T-I. These three letters can strike fear into any woman’s heart, especially women who suffer from chronic urinary tract infections. Every woman who has dealt with chronic urinary tract infections.

Rarely talked about but widely felt, UTIs are the second most common infection (after the common cold) in women living in the United States, resulting in 10 million doctor visits each year.

A whopping 80 percent of these cases are estimated to be recurring UTIs.

Despite being incredibly ubiquitous (and in many cases, not only uncomfortable but also debilitating), UTIs rarely get the attention and research dollars they deserve.

This is exactly what inspired Jenna Ryan and her now-husband, who is conveniently a biochemist, to create Uqora. In 2014, she had eight UTIs and her doctor’s solution was to prescribe a daily prophylactic antibiotic.

Together, Jenna and her husband developed a new, comprehensive line of UTI relief and proactive urinary tract health products. (And, no, it’s not made from cranberries.)

RELATED: Why It Sometimes Hurts To Pee After Sex

We invited 4 current Uqora customers to share their stories on struggling with UTIs — and finally finding a solution.

1. Christin, 49 years old

Christin has homeschooled seven children ages 17 to 26. She lives in Maryland with her husband and twins.

"My UTIs started when I got married. I was sick so often and so violently, I worried I wouldn’t be able to have kids. Doctors prescribed antibiotics, but I didn’t want to be on them for the rest of my life.

Thankfully, I didn’t get UTIs during the pregnancies. But any time my husband came home on leave from the Army — bam! In 2018, I had a hysterectomy. When I got the green light to be intimate again, I had a UTI every month.

It felt like it wasn’t even going away. Around the same time, I had been in an auto accident and was seeing a therapist to help with my anxiety so I could drive again. She told me about Uqora. I’ve been using Uqora for nearly two years and I’ve never looked back."

She goes on to add, "My sex life is great now. I used to always have a lot of anxiety around sex. Being spontaneous and having sex more often has been a real benefit. Also, there’s the freedom of knowing I can spend the whole day at the beach, or travel to see family."

What she wishes people knew more about UTIs: "It’s very isolating and not something that I openly talked about — especially because my main trigger is sex. I felt like I had to deal with it on my own.

UTIs make me very ill. I get a fever and chills and feel queasy. It can take me days to recover. Lots of anxiety comes with them, too. It’s something that can affect all aspects of someone’s life."

2. Sarah, 30 years old

Sarah is newly engaged and lives near the beach in North Carolina.

"I’m super susceptible to UTIs. They started when I was eight years old from riding my bike. Later, I got them from wearing sweaty athletic clothes when I taught back-to-back classes as a physical trainer.

About three years ago, I was on a flight to Colorado to visit a girlfriend and sat the whole eight hours. I got the worst UTI of my life. I discovered Uqora soon after and I’m so grateful for it."

What she wishes people knew more about UTIs: "I’m a pretty open person, but in college, I felt weird talking to my mom about UTIs. Most people assume you can only get them from sex.

UTIs can be severe and don’t just go away on their own. You need to treat them, which is why it can be frustrating if one sneaks up on you in the middle of the night or on a weekend and your only choice is to wait to go to an urgent care clinic."

Since Uqora, she's been more confident and relaxed.

"My fiancé and I are super active and love to travel. I also feel better, physically. The biggest gift is not having to think about it all the time."

RELATED: 8 Common (And Annoying) UTI Symptoms — And What Causes A Urinary Tract Infection

3. Lynne, 64 years old

Lynne works in the mortgage industry. She has four grown children and seven grandchildren and lives with her husband and their miniature schnauzer, Stella, in South Carolina.

"I started getting UTIs in my 40s. Sex was the trigger. After menopause, my UTIs became chronic. That was a very difficult part of my life.

Subsequently, I went through a divorce. I was out of work a lot and went through all of my PTO time in the first quarter of 2018. I had to awkwardly explain my absence to a roomful of men and got only blank stares in return.

I was constantly uncomfortable. My abdomen hurt. My back hurt. I went through a series of diagnostic tests — ultrasounds, CAT scans, scope of the bladder — with no abnormal findings.

Finally, the doctor prescribed a daily antibiotic. I try to live a healthy life and didn’t like the idea of having to take antibiotics every day for the rest of my life.

My daughter, who is a nurse, heard an ad for Uqora and told me to check it out. I eventually committed to the whole system and worked on being diligent about taking them every day."

She found freedom in no longer being chained to the bathroom.

"I’m married again. And he’s happy, too. Recently, I took a dip in a hot tub and went on an extended weekend trip with my family to the mountains and could enjoy myself, worry-free.”

What she wishes people knew more about UTIs: "I was in the dark about the cause of my UTIs and my doctors weren’t helping to educate me — so, now, I’m educating them.

I leveraged my research background and scoured PubMed for articles on UTIs. But, the best source of information is right on Uqora’s website in their UTI Learning Center.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek solutions that work for you. You’ll feel a whole lot better just having that information."

4. Elisa, 61 years old

Elisa runs her own Spanish language instruction and document translation business and lives in New Jersey with her husband.

"When I hit menopause at age 54, I started having chronic hemorrhagic UTIs.

I tried everything from drinking apple cider vinegar to very intense personal hygiene before and after sex to taking cranberry supplements — even drinking raw cranberry juice — and abstaining from activities I love, including biking, hot tubbing, swimming, going to the beach, and sex with my husband.

The fear of a UTI was always looming. It was a really difficult time. All of a sudden, romance in my marriage just wasn’t there.

In the summer of 2018, I traveled to see my sister and got a terrible UTI, and missed out on beach time with her and her family. Shortly after that, she heard an ad for Uqora and told me about it. I was ready to try anything that could help me."

For Elisa, Uqora had been a game-changer, both mentally and physically.

"Now, I swim and sit in my hot tub with my husband with a glass of wine. I have peace of mind knowing I have control over my body that I didn’t have before. My fear is gone. It’s nothing short of amazing."

What she wishes people knew more about UTIs: "I wish providers would take a deeper look at why women have recurrent UTIs.

Women of all ages can get them and there are many facets to consider — personal anatomy, estrogen levels, and so much more. It’s difficult to explain the absolute horror of a UTI if a person has never had one.

Chronic migraines are also debilitating, but are they more socially acceptable to research and discuss because they involve the north end of a woman’s body instead of the south end. Education is key."

RELATED: 6 Quick, All Natural UTI Cures And Remedies

Uqora is actively changing the conversation around UTIs by removing stigma, raising awareness, and building a strong community of support.

People no longer need to feel alone or suffer in silence. Where there are openness and inclusivity, the hope is that much-needed research, innovation, and education will follow.

"Knowing there are so many people out there struggling in the same ways I have has empowered me to share my story," says Christin. "I thank God I told my therapist about my UTI that day."

Ready for peace of mind? Learn more about Uqora and its UTI educational resources — plus a special discount code for YourTango readers!

— Created in partnership with Uqora.

RELATED: The 5 Stages Of Having A UTI (For Every Woman With A Burning Vagina)

Shannon Ullman is a writer who focuses on health and wellness recipes, especially using CBD and natural ingredients.

YourTango may earn an affiliate commission if you buy something through links featured in this article.