There's a pretty good chance that you have experienced the hell on earth that is a urinary tract infection (UTI), which is characterized most commonly by ridiculously painful burning and/or itching, as well as frequent trips to the bathroom because of a constant urge "to go," even when nothing actually comes out. But it's often quite hard to track down what exactly causes a UTI. While I have heard that something as simple as working out can cause a UTI, it's crucial to get all of the facts straight so we can all avoid suffering through these frustrating infections as much as we can.
UTIs happen as a result of bacteria entering through the urinary tract, where it then begins to grow and multiply inside the bladder, eventually leaving you squirming with that painful, awkward discomfort. Most commonly, UTIs occur in female bodies, because a woman's urethra is shorter than a man's, which makes it easier for that harmful bacteria to gain access the bladder. Ah, just another reason to love being a woman, amirite? Can anything ever just be a little bit easier for us?
So what exactly causes bacteria to get all up in there in the first place?
You'll be happy to know, when it comes to sitting around in your sweaty workout clothes, it's not that likely for you to develop a UTI.
While it is possible to get a UTI from habitually wearing tight clothes and synthetic, non-breathable underwear fabrics, it can be pretty easily prevented by wearing clean, breathable cotton underwear, and consistently practicing good hygiene.
So what do you need to know about UTIs then?
While sexual activity is probably the most well-known culprit for causing these painful and annoying infections (all sorts of bacteria from the colon or vag can get lodged in there during sexy time), it's important to know what other factors and situations might put you at risk, and what you can do to guard against them.
The most common bacteria to cause UTIs is E. coli, but the infection can also be caused by bacteria from your GI.
Other symptoms of a UTI can include cloudy or smelly urine, blood or pus in your urine, soreness, and cramps.
These bodily signs can also be indicative of other infections, so it's important to go to a doctor whenever something gnarly is going on down there. And if the infection escalates to your kidneys, symptoms can include fever and flu-like conditions -- all the more reason to visit your doc if you have any doubts about what's going on with your body.
So, even though sitting around in your sweaty workout clothes isn't likely to cause a UTI, it can still lead to some discomfort down there.
In fact, it's actually more common for you to get something called “sports vagina” when you're working out and hanging hard in sweaty clothes.
Yes, it's sort of a thing, though it's worth noting that it's not an official medical condition exactly. Rather, it's a kind of umbrella term for the discomfort you can experience when your vulva and vagina begin to sweat, like itching, chafing, redness and strong odor.
Sports vagina -- and the conditions down there that cause it -- are also ripe for causing a good ol' yeast infection, too, from an overgrowth of the fungus candida, which really thrives in a sweaty and warm environment.
To avoid the dreaded "sports vagina," the best thing to remember, above all, is to always wipe and wash yourself from front to back. This is, of course, to prevent bacteria from moving from your rectum or colon into your vagina. While that's bad enough as it is, add a little sweat to the situation and it's basically a party for germs and harmful bacteria.
The moral of the story? It's always to good take a nice rinse right after you exercise, for your vagina's sake, as well as for the sake of your entire body.