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The coming of summer means lazy weekends by the pool, taking a trip to the ocean, swimming in the lake, and spending lots of time in swimsuits. What many don’t realize is that the summer brings an increased risk to men and women for getting a UTI. A urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria passes through the urethra and travels up into the bladder or kidneys to multiply in the urinary tract. One’s swimming hygiene habits, or lack thereof can increase risk for developing recreational water illnesses, especially UTIs.
Swimming pools can be a breeding ground for germs if there is a combination of urine or fecal matter in the water, people not showering before swimming, and low levels of chlorine. Be sure to talk to the pool staff about their measures to ensure the water is adequately disinfected and decontaminated.
In rare cases, a bacterium known as Pseudomonas aeruginosa can cause UTI associated with hot tubs. When it comes to swimming in lakes or beaches, avoid those with high bacterial levels. It should also be noted that it is less safe to pee in the still water of a lake than the moving waves of the ocean.
Lower your chances of getting a UTI by changing out of wet bathing suits as soon as possible. Germs tend to grow best in warm, moist places. Women are more prone to UTI due to their tight-fitting swimsuits and anatomically shorter urethra that gives easier access to the bladder. Since the summer’s heat and humidity can increase the risk for UTIs, always be sure to drink plenty of fluids to help flush out bacteria through the urinary tract.