Why Do I Feel Like I Have a UTI on My Period?

Experiencing UTI-like symptoms during your period? Discover why you may feel like you have a urinary tract infection when on your menstrual cycle.

Many women feel they have a UTI when it’s their time of the month. This happens because of changing hormones, how we keep clean, sex, and being less resistant to sickness when we’re on our period.1 Knowing this can help us take better care and even stop these symptoms.

When estrogen levels drop during a woman’s period, the chance of a UTI goes up.1 Estrogen helps fight off inflammation. So, when it’s low, we might get an infection in our bladder or urethra.1 Stress can also weaken our immune system, opening the door to UTIs.1 Sex during this time can push bacteria into the urinary tract, making UTI-like problems more likely.1

If we don’t change our pads or tampons enough, it can help UTI-like symptoms grow.2 Using the right products, like ones that are cotton and free of chemicals, and changing them often, can protect us from bacteria and irritation.2

Remember, feeling like you have a UTI when it’s your period is common.2 But, having a UTI won’t change when your period comes.2

Key Takeaways

  • Falling estrogen levels make UTIs more likely during menstruation.
  • Stress and weaker immunity can raise the risk of UTI-like symptoms then.
  • Sticking to good hygiene, like changing products often, can ward off infections.
  • UTIs don’t change when your period comes.
  • For serious UTI or period symptoms, seeing a doctor is wise.

Understanding UTIs and Their Symptoms

A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is a common bacterial issue. It impacts the bladder, urethra, or kidneys.3 UTIs show up with a strong urge to urinate. They also bring a burning feeling when you pee, along with cloudy or smelly urine. There might be pelvic discomfort too.3

What is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?

A UTI is a bacterial problem that affects any part of the urinary system. This includes the bladder, urethra, and kidneys.3 Women are more likely to get UTIs; about 50% will have one at some stage.3 They’re not so common in children, only impacting 1 or 2 in 100.3

Common Symptoms of a UTI

The most common signs of a UTI are often a strong, urgent need to urinate. There’s usually a burning sensation when you pee, and the urine may look cloudy or have a strong odor. Pelvic pain is also a frequent symptom.3 Blood in the urine, fever, and back pain might also happen.3

Consequences of Untreated UTIs

Not treating a UTI can have serious effects. It might lead to a kidney infection.3 These infections could cause lasting kidney damage. They might even become so severe they’re life-threatening if the infection reaches the blood.3 Getting medical help quickly to treat UTI symptoms is vital to avoid these problems.

The Connection Between UTIs and Periods

“UTIs are linked to a woman’s menstrual cycle.2 During the period, estrogen levels drop. This can make the body more open to UTIs.4

Estrogen lowers and this lessens the body’s ability to fight inflammation.4 This can increase the risk of bacterial infections in the urinary tract.

Hormonal Changes During Menstruation

Menstruation makes women more likely to get UTIs.4 This is because estrogen levels are at their lowest then, upping the UTI risk.2

Added stress during menstruation weakens the immune system.2 This makes it harder to fight off infections, including UTIs.

Increased Risk of UTIs During Periods

Women are more at risk of UTIs than men.2 Hormone changes, sexual activity, and hygiene during periods can increase this risk.24

Having sex more often during a period might cause UTIs.2

Pads and tampons can keep and spread bacteria, upping UTI chances.2 Changing these products often lowers the risk.2

Also, the scents in feminine products can irritate the urinary system.2 Staying hydrated is key for managing UTI and period health.2

Not all women face UTI risks during their periods.4 Factors like hormone levels and body’s structure matter a lot. They influence how we deal with UTI risks.

Why Do I Feel Like I Have a UTI on My Period?

Many women feel like they have a UTI when they’re on their period, even without a real infection. The symptoms are similar, including a strong need to pee, a burning feeling, and pain in the pelvis. These are also common during periods, such as cramps and feeling like you need to pee a lot.2 Hormone changes, hygiene habits, and a weaker immune system in menstruation can make this feeling worse.12

The drop in estrogen levels during the menstrual cycle can make the urinary tract more easily irritated. This makes it feel like you have a UTI.1 Stress and a weak immune system during periods can also add to the problem.12

Not changing pads or tampons enough can let bacteria grow. This, along with having sex during your period, can lead to UTI-like symptoms.2

Understanding why this happens can help women deal with it. By controlling hormone changes, keeping clean, and reducing stress, women can feel less discomfort during their period.12

Causes of UTI-like Symptoms During Periods

Feeling like you have a UTI during your period is common. Even without a real infection, several factors might make you feel this way. Knowing these reasons can help women deal with and avoid UTI-like symptoms.

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Hormonal Fluctuations

Drops in estrogen level are a big reason for feeling like you have a UTI during your period.2 Estrogen helps keep the urinary tract healthy. When its levels drop, the risk of getting a bacterial infection rises.2 This change can spark urinary tract irritation and inflammation. These lead to UTI-like feelings.

Hygiene Practices

Good menstrual hygiene is key to prevent UTI-like symptoms.2 Not changing pads or tampons often enough can help bacteria grow. This growth can cause UTI-like problems. Additionally, wetness and certain menstrual products can move bacteria from the vagina to the urinary tract.5

Sexual Activity

Having sex during your period can up the risk of UTI-like symptoms.2 When bacteria enter the urinary tract during intercourse, you might feel irritation and a burn when you pee. These feel like UTI symptoms.

Stress and Weakened Immunity

Stress and a weaker immune system linked to periods can also cause UTI-like symptoms.6 Stress lowers the body’s infection-fighting ability. This can make women more prone to UTI symptoms if bacteria grow in their urinary tract.

Differentiating Between UTIs and Period Symptoms

It’s tough to tell the difference between a UTI and period symptoms.4 Both can cause bloating, pelvic pain, tiredness, and the need to pee a lot. This overlaps, making it hard to know the exact issue.4

Common Period Symptoms

Period troubles like cramps, bloating, and pain could feel like a UTI.4 Blood in the pee might show up in both, making it tricky to figure out.4

Overlapping Symptoms

2 During periods, we have the lowest estrogen levels, making UTIs more likely.2 Changes in hormones can irritate the bladder. This causes discomfort similar to a UTI.2 Also, menstruation stress may lower our immunity. This can worsen UTI-like symptoms.2

To figure out if it’s a UTI, look at how bad, how long, and how symptoms change. If things don’t get better as usual, it could be a UTI. This needs a doctor’s check.

Preventing UTIs During Your Period

To avoid UTIs while on your period, good hygiene is key.1 Change your pads or tampons often. Always wipe from front to back.1 These steps lower the chance of bacteria getting into your urinary tract.1 Not cleaning menstrual products well can make bacteria grow, leading to more UTIs.1

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water helps too.6 It flushes out bacteria, lessening UTI risks.7 Aim for at least 1.5 L daily.7

Cranberry Supplements

Cranberry supplements work wonders.1 They’re great at preventing UTIs, acting like antibiotics but without the usual side effects.1 The 36mg PAC formulation in Utiva’s Cranberry PACs Supplement comes with urologist approvals.7

Adding these steps to your routine can really cut down on UTI risks during your period.167 These practices also keep your urinary tract healthy overall.167

When to Seek Medical Attention

Some UTI-like symptoms during a period can be treated at home. But, if symptoms persist or worsen, or you have severe symptoms like a high fever or blood in the urine, see a doctor.2 They can find the real issue and give the right treatment, not just for a UTI but for other problems too.

Don’t wait to seek medical care when UTI-like symptoms during a period get serious. Persistent or severe symptoms might mean a bigger problem. If you don’t get help soon, things might get worse. It’s important to take care of yourself and see a doctor for any worrying urinary tract problems during your period.

The Role of Endometriosis and Interstitial Cystitis

Feeling like you have a UTI while on your period might signal issues like endometriosis or interstitial cystitis.8 Endometriosis spreads the uterine lining outside the womb. It can make the bladder react like it has a UTI, especially during periods.9 Interstitial cystitis is a persistent bladder problem. It may increase pelvic pain and discomfort when a woman has her period.10

Endometriosis and Bladder Symptoms

Research shows a possible link between interstitial cystitis and endometriosis in those facing daily pelvic pain.8 A 2018 study reported that endometriosis sufferers are more than four times likely to get interstitial cystitis than others.10

The combination of interstitial cystitis, endometriosis, adhesions, and vulvar pain in women with chronic pelvic pain has been recorded. The study shows varying but common rates of interstitial cystitis and endometriosis among these women.8

Interstitial Cystitis and Period Flare-ups

A study found links between interstitial cystitis and serious, unending pelvic pain after a hysterectomy. It showed that interstitial cystitis plays a significant role in this.8 People with interstitial cystitis might have to go to the bathroom up to 60 times every day.10 Special tests like the intravesical potassium sensitivity test can help diagnose this condition in gynecology.8

For checking for these issues, doctors might perform physical exams, pee tests, check your pelvis, use imaging like MRI or ultrasound, and more.10 Fixing endometriosis could involve pain drugs, hormones, fertility help, surgery, diet changes, and physical activity.10 Treating interstitial cystitis might call for using physical therapy, medicine for pain and inflammation, Elmiron for your bladder lining, or more intense options like a surgical fix.10

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If you often feel like you have a UTI during your period, these hidden conditions might be the cause. It’s vital to see a doctor to pinpoint and treat these problems.8910

Natural Remedies for UTI Relief

UTIs are usually treated with antibiotics, but there are natural ways to relieve symptoms too.11 Some women prefer these methods over antibiotics to avoid their side effects. This approach can be holistic and beneficial for urinary health.

Uva-Ursi (Bearberry)

Bearberry, or uva-ursi, fights UTIs with its antibacterial properties.11 It has a long history of helping with bladder and urinary tract issues. So, it’s a good natural choice for UTI symptoms.

Echinacea

Echinacea boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation.11 It can help lessen discomfort from UTI-like symptoms, especially for women during menstruation.

Cranberry Juice

Cranberries are well-known for preventing UTIs.11 They stop UTI-causing bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract. Drinking cranberry juice or taking supplements can lower UTI risk and ease symptoms during a period.

It’s wise to talk to a doctor before trying these natural remedies. Some supplements might not mix well with medications. By combining natural and traditional treatments, women can manage UTI symptoms effectively during their period.

Antibiotics for Treating UTIs

Natural remedies can help, but often, antibiotics are best for urinary tract infection (UTI). For simple UTIs, doctors usually prescribe Trimethoprim. This drug kills the bacteria in the bladder causing the infection.12 You typically take a 200 mg tablet twice daily for three days.12 Yet, always talk to a healthcare provider first. Not everyone should take antibiotics because of possible side effects.

There are many types of antibiotics for UTIs like amoxicillin, cephalosporins, doxycycline, and nitrofurantoin.3 Sadly, about 80% of UTI cases don’t respond to common ones like amoxicillin/clavulanic acid.3 This happens when bacteria become immune to the drugs, often because antibiotics were used too much or not the right way.3

For tougher UTIs, Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim) may be used, but its effectiveness is decreasing.12 People with penicillin allergies might get UTI antibiotics like cephalexin (Keflex).12 Taking Nitrofurantoin (Macrobid) before UTIs happen can stop them.12 Amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate (Augmentin) and Fluoroquinolones are also useful. But, doctors suggest using Fluoroquinolones like ciprofloxacin (Cipro) only when necessary.12

You must finish all your antibiotics to cure the infection and prevent it from coming back.12 Doctors sometimes use IV antibiotics like ceftriaxone (Rocephin) for easy-to-treat UTIs in a short, 3-day course.12 Also, phenazopyridine (Pyridium, AZO) can help with the pain and burning of UTIs.12

Lifestyle Changes to Minimize UTI Risk

There are lifestyle changes that can lower the chance of getting UTIs, especially during a woman’s period.3 These include keeping clean, like changing pads often and wiping the right way.3 Drinking lots of water helps keep your urinary tract clear.13 It’s also good to reduce stress since it can make infections more likely.

Hygiene and Intimate Care

Good hygiene is key to UTI prevention, especially during your period.3 Always wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria.3 Change pads or tampons frequently, particularly when they’re dirty. This reduces bacteria and your risk of UTIs.

Staying Hydrated

13 Drink at least 50 ounces of fluids daily, mostly water. It helps flush the urinary tract and cuts UTI risk.13 Also, make sure to pee four to eight times a day. This keeps your bladder healthy and stops bacteria from growing.

Stress Management

Lowering stress levels is crucial for UTI risk reduction during your period.3 Stress weakens your immune system, making infections more likely. Do things like meditation, yoga, or other relaxing activities. They improve your body’s ability to fight off UTIs.

These changes can lower your UTI risk during your period and keep your urinary tract healthy overall.

Dispelling Myths and Misconceptions

There’s a lot of false info about UTIs and periods out there. Many think a UTI can change when a woman gets her period. But that’s not true.14 Thinking periods are dirty and need special cleaning can cause problems. It might make someone more at risk for UTI symptoms during their period.

Some believe eating pineapple can change how a person tastes during intimacy.14 But science hasn’t shown this. Also, the idea that organic tampons help make periods lighter or less painful is a myth.14 While they might help if someone is sensitive, they don’t change how heavy or long a period is.

Let’s also clear up the myth about COVID-19 vaccines and infertility.14 Many pregnant people have gotten the vaccine without more miscarriages. There’s no proof the vaccines cause problems with getting pregnant.

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By sharing the truth about these myths, we can help women understand how UTIs and periods are really connected. This lets them look after their health better.15 Knowing the facts also helps young girls feel more sure about their reproductive health. It can also help lessen the shame around talking about periods.

Conclusion

Feeling like you have a UTI while on your period is pretty common for many women. It happens because of changes in hormones, how you keep clean, sex, and your immune system being weaker.4

It’s hard to tell if you have a UTI or just regular period pain. But knowing what causes it and doing things to stop it can make you feel better.4

If you think you might have a UTI, see a doctor. You can also try drinking lots of water, using a hot water bottle, and having cranberry juice.16 You should also make sure you’re clean and not too stressed.164 Doing these things means you can handle UTI feelings during your period and stop serious UTIs.

To cope with UTI symptoms during your period, you need to understand the causes and use different treatments and changes. Talk to a doctor and take steps to stay healthy.164 This way, you’ll have a better time during your period.

FAQ

What is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?

A UTI is a common bacterial infection that affects the bladder, urethra, or kidneys. It causes symptoms like needing to pee a lot and pain or burning when you do. You might also notice your urine looks cloudy or smells strong, with discomfort in your pelvic area.

What are the common symptoms of a UTI?

The main symptoms are a strong urge to go to the bathroom and a burning feeling when you pee. Your urine might be cloudy or smell weird, with an ache in your pelvic area.

What are the consequences of an untreated UTI?

If you don’t treat a UTI, it might turn into a more serious kidney infection.

How are hormonal changes during menstruation connected to UTIs?

Changes in your hormone levels, especially less estrogen, during your period can raise the UTI risk. Estrogen helps fight infection. So, less of it means bacteria in your urinary tract have a better chance.

Why do I feel like I have a UTI during my period?

Even without a UTI, many women feel like they might have one during their period. This happens because UTI symptoms and period symptoms can look alike.The need to pee often, a burning feeling when you do, and pelvic ache are common with both. Cramps and pressure on your bladder, usual period symptoms, can make it hard to tell.

What factors can cause UTI-like symptoms during a period?

Things like hormone changes, not keeping clean, having sex, and a weaker immune system can cause UTI-like symptoms during your period. But, it might not always be a UTI.

How can I differentiate between UTI symptoms and period symptoms?

Telling the difference can be hard. UTI symptoms and some period symptoms are quite similar.For example, blood in the urine can happen with both. This can make it tricky to know what’s really going on. If you’re unsure, it’s best to see a doctor.

How can I prevent UTIs during my period?

To avoid UTIs during your period, make sure you’re clean and drink lots of water. Taking cranberry supplements can also be a good idea.

When should I seek medical attention for UTI-like symptoms during my period?

If symptoms don’t go away, get worse, or if you have a high fever or severe pelvic pain, see a doctor. They can figure out what’s wrong and give you the right treatment.

How can underlying conditions like endometriosis and interstitial cystitis contribute to UTI-like symptoms during a period?

Conditions like endometriosis and interstitial cystitis can make you feel UTI-like symptoms when you have your period. Endometriosis can affect your bladder. Meanwhile, interstitial cystitis might make period pain worse.

What natural remedies can provide relief for UTI-like symptoms during a period?

Uva-ursi (bearberry), echinacea, and cranberry juice might help with UTI symptoms during your period. They have been known to fight infections and ease discomfort.

How do antibiotics work to treat UTIs?

Doctors often give antibiotics like trimethoprim for UTIs. These meds kill the bacteria causing the problem in your bladder.

What lifestyle changes can help minimize the risk of UTIs during my period?

Good hygiene, drinking plenty of water, and keeping your stress down can lower the risk of UTI symptoms during your period.

What are some common myths and misconceptions about UTIs and periods?

Some people think a UTI can change when you get your period or mess up your cycle. They also mistakenly believe periods are dirty and need to be “cleaned,” causing worry and bad habits.

Source Links

  1. https://www.avogel.co.uk/health/cystitis/why-do-i-get-cystitis-during-my-period/
  2. https://www.nurx.com/blog/utis-and-your-period/
  3. https://www.webmd.com/women/your-guide-urinary-tract-infections
  4. https://www.myuti.com/uti-education-center/utis-amp-your-cycle-understanding-the-connection
  5. https://uqora.info/blogs/learning-center/utis-and-periods-why-might-menstruation-influence-uti-risk
  6. https://lifemd.com/learn/does-a-uti-affect-your-period
  7. https://www.utivahealth.com/blogs/resources/when-your-period-and-uti-hits-at-the-same-time
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3015726/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3015716/
  10. https://www.healthline.com/health/endometriosis/interstitial-cystitis-and-endometriosis
  11. https://nafc.org/bhealth-blog/home-remedies-for-utis/
  12. https://www.healthline.com/health/medicine-for-urinary-tract-infection
  13. https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/5-tips-to-prevent-a-urinary-tract-infection
  14. https://drstacit.com/vaginal-health-myths-1/
  15. https://nuawoman.com/blog/5-period-misconception-that-your-daughter-should-know/
  16. https://www.simplymedsonline.co.uk/blog/cystitis-like-period