Have you noticed pain while urinating or the sensation that you need to urinate more regularly? If so, then you may have a UTI. If you are active, or you tend to get hot regularly, you may be wondering whether sweat can cause a UTI or not.
In this article, we’ll discuss this possibility as well as some other things to consider.
Table of Contents
- What Is a UTI?
- Can Sweat Cause a UTI?
- Can Sweat Cause a Yeast Infection?
- What Can Cause a UTI?
- What Can You Do to Prevent UTIs?
- When to See a Doctor?
- Key Takeaways
What Is a UTI?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) describes an infection anywhere within the urinary system. This includes areas such as:
As mentioned, a UTI can cause symptoms that include pain or a burning sensation during urination. You may also notice that you need to pee more regularly or commonly experience the urge to urinate. A UTI may change the appearance of your urine as well. It could be more cloudy or darker than usual. In rare cases, there could also be blood in your urine.
UTIs are more common in women however, they can impact men as well. The chance of developing a UTI also increases as you age. 3 in 25 men and 10 in 25 women will experience a UTI in their lifetime.
Can Sweat Cause a UTI?
Sweat is not one of the main causes of a UTI. That said, moisture is the perfect environment for both yeast and bacteria to grow and thrive. If there is bacteria, then there is a greater chance that this will enter into areas such as your urethra.
As such, it is possible that remaining sweaty could lead to a UTI even though it is not the direct cause. This is why it’s recommended that you don’t stay in clothing that is drenched in sweat after exercising. Instead, you should dry this area and change or even take a shower.
Can Sweat Cause a Yeast Infection?
If you are active or enjoy activities such as running, you are more likely to build up levels of sweat in areas such as the thigh and the crotch. Sweat can occur when your thighs rub together. Yeast develops in moist environments. As such, if you are constantly sweating, you are more likely to develop a yeast infection. Vaginal yeast can grow and develop in a sweaty area like this. This may cause itching as well as a significant discomfort.
What Can Cause a UTI?
There are various causes of a UTI. The main cause of a UTI is bacteria – typically from feces – entering the urinary tract. This can carry bacteria anywhere in the urinary system. It’s also why UTIs can cause widespread issues and symptoms.
The reason why women are more likely to develop UTIs is due to the length of their urethra. Women have urethras that are shorter than men. As such, a UTI is more likely to reach areas such as the kidneys or the bladder.
Research has shown that various situations are more likely to lead to UTIs. For instance, studies have explored UTIs as a potential marker for sexual activity.
Certain individuals are more likely to develop UTIs. For instance, studies show that those who have a weakened immune system due to long-term conditions such as diabetes are more likely to develop UTIs.
Lifestyle choices can also be a factor here. As noted, if your genital areas are not kept clean, then this can lead to the development of a UTI. In contrast, overwashing your vagina may also lead to issues with a UTI. Vaginas are self-cleaning and overwashing can impact the pH balance.
Other common causes include:
- Kidney stones
- Enlarged prostates
What Can You Do to Prevent UTIs?
There are various steps that you can take to reduce the chances of developing a UTI. For instance, you should ensure that you are drinking enough water throughout the day. This helps to lower levels of bacteria within the urinary tract. Ideally, you should aim for at least six to eight glasses per day.
If you are worried about contracting a UTI due to sexual activity, then you may want to urinate after or before sex. Again, this helps remove the bacteria which cause UTIs before it can pass between different partners.
Probiotics may also help to reduce issues with UTIs. These microorganisms encourage the development of good bacteria and help ensure the right balance.
When to See a Doctor?
Mild UTIs will usually resolve themselves in just a few days without any medical intervention. However, you could be experiencing more severe symptoms or symptoms that you aren’t sure are caused by a UTI.
For instance, certain symptoms associated with a UTI can make you feel tired or leave you with less energy than usual. You should also see a doctor if your symptoms do not get better after several days or if they are getting worse. If this is the case, you will require antibiotics.
Get Help From an Online Doctor!
Some people do not want to see a doctor in person about a UTI. This could be to avoid long delays or time in a waiting room. Instead of making an appointment with a doctor in person, you can use the DrHouse telehealth service!
With DrHouse you can see an online doctor within 15 minutes and whenever it suits you. Simply download the app and start an on-demand visit at a time that works for you.
You will then have a video consultation with one of our clinicians who can help discuss your symptoms. They can then recommend the right treatment that will be right for you, regardless of whether you have a UTI or yeast infection.
As you can see, while sweat may not directly cause the development of a UTI, it can make UTI infections more likely. Due to this, you should ensure that you are washing and getting dry if you sweat after exercise or in bed. This will help reduce your chances of developing a UTI.
There are other steps you can take to avoid an issue here too. For instance, you may want to urinate before or after sexual activity to help flush out any bacteria. If you do notice signs of a UTI, you should speak to a doctor if your symptoms do not get better after three days.
- Susan W. Ryan (1996) Bladder and ‘Yeast’ Infections, The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 24:7, 107, DOI: 10.3810/psm.1996.07.1425
- USHER B. HUMAN SWEAT AS A CULTURE MEDIUM FOR BACTERIA: A PRELIMINARY REPORT. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1928;18(2):276–280. Doi: https://www.doi.org/10.1001/archderm.1928.02380140100009
- Nguyen, Hanh, and Michael Weir. “Urinary tract infection as a possible marker for teenage sex.” Southern Medical Journal, vol. 95, no. 8, Aug. 2002, pp. 867+. Gale Academic OneFile
- Ann Stapleton, Urinary tract infections in patients with diabetes, The American Journal of Medicine, Volume 113, Issue 1, Supplement 1, 2002, Pages 80-84, ISSN 0002-9343, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0002-9343(02)01062-8.
- Ripa, F., Pietropaolo, A., Montanari, E. et al. Association of Kidney Stones and Recurrent UTIs: the Chicken and Egg Situation. A Systematic Review of Literature. Curr Urol Rep 23, 165–174 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11934-022-01103-y
- Schwenger EM, Tejani AM, Loewen PS. Probiotics for preventing urinary tract infections in adults and children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD008772. DOI: https://www.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD008772.pub2 .
- Understanding UTIs Across the Lifespan. Urology Care Foundation. Available from: https://www.urologyhealth.org/healthy-living/urologyhealth-extra/magazine-archives/summer-2016/understanding-utis-across-the-lifespan