What Does a Recurring UTI Mean?

Nobody likes suffering from UTIs, and if you get them recurrently, you may have noticed that they are more frequent in the winter. Believe it or not, many scientific studies have suggested that there is a direct correlation between cold weather and an increase in UTIs.

Continue reading to learn what a recurring UTI means and why they become more common during winter.

Why are UTIs More Common in Winter?

Cold-induced diuresis is one method your body uses to prevent hypothermia when in freezing or near-freezing environments. Diuresis is more than increased production of urine, it also increases blood flow to the skin and centralizes warmth around your organs. The increased urine production is just a side effect with the potential to lead to UTIs.

How to Decrease the Risks of UTIs in Winter

While it’s unfortunate that winter weather creates a higher risk for UTIs, there are a few steps you could take to reduce that risk as much as possible. That being said, nothing is guaranteed to work, and you shouldn’t take medical advice from anyone other than a urinary specialist. Here are a few non-medical steps you could take to attempt to reduce your risk of a UTI this winter.

Stay Hydrated

According to research, the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that you get between 2.7 and 3.7 liters of water daily to remain properly hydrated. You should always try to remain properly hydrated, but it’s especially important if you struggle with UTIs. While most types of liquids will help hydrate you, water specifically helps dilute the urine and make it less potent, thus causing you to urinate more frequently, which then flushes out some of the harmful bacteria that can cause a UTI.

Go when you Need to Go

UTIs occur as a result of harmful bacteria sitting in your urinary tract. When you urinate, it helps remove some of these bacteria. If you go too long without emptying your bladder, it gives the bacteria more time to multiply, thus increasing your risks. Instead of holding it, go to the bathroom when you feel the urge.

Wear Breathable Fabrics

Breathable fabrics, specifically cotton underwear, allow the area to stay dry, thus slowing the rate at which the bacteria multiply between trips to the bathroom. The more moisture that gets trapped in the area, the better an environment it is for the harmful UTI-causing bacteria to thrive.

What does a Recurring UTI Mean?

If you’ve spoken to a medical professional about UTIs or done a bit of research online, you’ve probably come across the term “recurring UTI.” What does a recurring UTI mean, though?

A recurring UTI is defined as either two instances of a UTI in six months or three instances of a UTI in one year. While recurring UTIs are more common in women, they can also occur in males. It’s a commonly believed myth that males can’t get UTIs, but that’s far from the truth. It’s less commonly seen, but still just as likely.

If left untreated long enough or if experienced frequently enough, UTIs can cause further affect on your kidneys, ranging from infections to permanent damage.

How do you Know if you Have a UTI?

While medical professionals can only officially diagnose UTIs, you should make sure you know the symptoms you need to watch out for so that you know when to make an appointment. There are 13 main symptoms you need to look out for. The symptoms you experience can also help determine which kind of UTI you may have (upper or lower).

Lower UTI Symptoms

Infections of the lower urinary tract tend to be more easily noticeable than that of the upper urinary tract. Symptoms include frequent, intense urges to urinate, followed by producing only a small amount of urine, burning sensations when urinating, dark or cloudy urine, blood in urine, pelvic or rectal pain, or a foul smell.

Upper UTI Symptoms

Infections of the upper urinary tract can be harder to diagnose, as the issue may seem like it’s being caused by something else. Symptoms may include nausea or vomiting, pain, and tenderness in the upper back and sides, chills, and/or fever.


You should seek treatment if you experience frequent, persisting, or recurring urinary tract infections. UTIs can lead to more severe kidney issues— something you won’t want to experience. Maintaining your urinary health and receiving the best treatment comes from visiting your urologist regularly.

At USoC, our team of urologists is always up to date and trained about the latest treatments and procedures for UTIs and UTI-related symptoms so that we can make sure you get the best help available when you need it. 

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As a general guide, here are some frequently asked questions that may come up in relation to recurring UTIs and what you can expect from them.

What does a recurring UTI mean for my long-term health?

In most cases, UTIs won’t affect your long-term health much if treated quickly and effectively. That being said, they can be a sign of a separate issue related to kidney or bladder damage.

What does a recurring UTI mean for men?

Recurrent UTIs may indicate an underlying problem, but they are most concerning for men. While women tend to get UTIs more often, they are rarely serious. UTIs can be caused by a preexisting structural abnormality (such as an enlarged prostate or inflamed bowel disease), which should be examined by a doctor.

Are recurring UTIs normal in Winter?

While recurring UTIs are more common in winter, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s normal. An infection of any kind, especially a recurring one, can lead to a more severe issue or be a sign that you already have a more severe issue.

Clear Up Your UTI Symptoms at USoC

It is important to treat any and all urinary symptoms, regardless of the season. There are, however, more symptoms during the winter, so be on your toes. You can count on Urology Specialists of the Carolinas to help.

Take advantage of one of our free guides about urology and the changes you can make to improve your health with USoC! Take the first step toward improving your urinary health by scheduling an appointment with one of our incredible urologists – you’ll be glad you did!

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