Can You Swim With a UTI? 

6164
Jessica Guht
Categorized as UTI

Are you showing the signs and symptoms of a UTI? If so, then you might be wondering how this is going to impact your lifestyle and typical routine. For instance, you could be an avid swimmer. 

In this article, we’ll explore whether you can just keep swimming once you know that you have a UTI and some of the other factors that you should consider.

Table of Contents

Can You Go Swimming With a UTI?

First, there is nothing to stop you from swimming if you are showing signs of a UTI. One of the common misconceptions about UTIs is that they can be passed on through interactions in social areas like swimming pools. This is not the case assuming you are not urinating in the pool. 

However, one of the common symptoms of a UTI is increased urination or the urge to urinate. This can lead to discomfort while swimming. However, swimming is also an activity that won’t cause pressure in areas such as the abdomen. As such, you are more likely to be able to swim freely without discomfort from a UTI compared to other activities such as weightlifting and planking. 

Can Swimming Make Your UTI Worse?

You may be worried that swimming is going to make your UTI worse. While swimming can not directly cause a UTI it can make the issue worse and cause more irritation as well as discomfort. Why is this? 

Swimming pools are filled with chlorine to keep the water clean. While this is an effective cleaning agent, it can cause irritation in the urinary tract, particularly in women and girls. This is why if you are going swimming with a UTI, you should make sure that you are rinsing off thoroughly, paying particular attention to the vaginal area. Getting rid of any chlorine will help to reduce the chances of more discomfort from an existing UTI. 

You should also ensure that you are not sitting around in a wet swimsuit. This can be an issue if you are on vacation. You might be keen to lounge around by the pool and dry off naturally. This is a mistake as it will provide the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. You could develop a yeast infection while also causing the existing symptoms to get worse. 

What About Using a Hot Tub With a UTI?

You can also use a hot tub with a UTI. However, similar to swimming, it may make your UTI symptoms worse. Particularly, if you remain in your swimsuit for some time after being in a hot tub. Using a hot tub can cause you to sweat which can lead to increased issues with UTIs and yeast infections. 

There is also some limited evidence that suggests that using a hot tub may increase the chances of an individual developing a UTI. However, it is important to stress that any evidence of this correlation is limited at best.

Can You Get a UTI From Swimming?

Similar to hot tubs, there is a limited amount of evidence that suggests that swimming will increase the chances of a UTI. Again, this could be due to the levels of chlorine that are present in the water. It may also be because people commonly urinate in public pools. However, your chances of developing a UTI due to swimming are similar to your chances of developing one due to:

  • Frequent urination 
  • Wiping patterns
  • Use of tampons 

Ultimately, swimming may increase your chances of developing a UTI but the impact is not likely to be significant.  

How Can You Prevent a UTI?

While avoiding swimming may not be the best way to prevent a UTI, there are other steps that you can take. For instance, you should make sure that you are drinking plenty of water. Drinking a lot is by far one of the best ways to reduce your chances of developing a UTI. Drinking water provides a natural detox for the body. As such, it can help flush out any bacteria that is present in your urinary tract. 

You should also avoid staying in clothing drenched in sweat for long periods. This is important whether you love swimming or any other form of exercise. It’s important that you change out of your sweaty clothing as soon as you are finished with your workout. Sweat is the ideal breeding ground for the bacteria which can lead to UTIs by entering the urinary tract. 

Other lifestyle habits could also be useful for decreasing the chances of a UTI. For instance, you should ensure that you urinate before or after sex and clean your private areas. This will again help flush out any bacteria and ensure that there isn’t any lingering bacteria left to pass between partners. 

When to See a Doctor?

You might find that a UTI has little to no impact on your lifestyle. However, some people will experience more severe symptoms. This can include severe abdominal pain or even blood in the urine. In most cases, a UTI will clear up by itself after just three days. In cases where this is not true, it will be worth speaking to a doctor. They will likely prescribe a quick course of antibiotics. 

Do note that some people will have frequent issues with UTIs. This can be the case if you have a disease that impacts your immune system such as diabetes. In cases like this, you will need additional support from a doctor to manage the symptoms and infections effectively. 

How Can DrHouse Help You?

If you think that you might have a UTI, the first step is always to speak to a doctor. They will likely be able to diagnose the issue quickly and provide you with the treatment that you need. However, this isn’t always easy. You may not have the time to see a doctor or your symptoms may not be present during normal working hours. This is where DrHouse comes in.

With DrHouse you can connect to a virtual clinical within 15 minutes. One of our experienced and qualified clinicians will be on hand to discuss your symptoms with you.

They will also be able to provide you with a diagnosis and, if necessary, a prescription for antibiotics.

All of this can be done without the need to leave your home or take time off work. DrHouse is here to make sure that you get the care and treatment for your UTI when you need it.

Key Takeaways

Avid swimmers don’t need to worry about missing out on their favorite sport or pastime when they notice signs of a UTI. 

However, they should take extra care to get rid of any chlorine when they are finished swimming and remember to stay hydrated. You can even use a hot tub but the same advice applies. 

If you notice your UTI is getting worse or is not disappearing after several days, it might be worth getting support from an online doctor or booking an appointment to assess the issue. 

Sources:

  • Zeev Arinzon, Shay Shabat, Alexander Peisakh, Yitshal Berner, Clinical presentation of urinary tract infection (UTI) differs with aging in women, Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Volume 55, Issue 1, 2012, Pages 145-147, ISSN 0167-4943, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.archger.2011.07.012
  • Salmen P, Dwyer DM, Vorse H, Kruse W. Whirlpool-Associated Pseudomonas aeruginosa Urinary Tract Infections. JAMA. 1983;250(15):2025–2026. doi:https://www.doi.org/10.1001/jama.1983.03340150067029   
  • Mohiuddin, Abdul Kader. (2019). Alternative Management of Uncomplicated UTIs In Women. 2. 147-151. https://www.doi.org/10.32474/JUNS.2019.02.000133
  • Shaughnessy AF. Increased Water Intake Decreases UTI Recurrence in Women. Am Fam Physician. 2019 Mar 15;99(6):Online. PMID: 30874417.
  • Brown, P.D., Foxman, B. Pathogenesis of urinary tract infection: The role of sexual behavior and sexual transmission. Curr Infect Dis Rep 2, 513–517 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11908-000-0054-4
  • Pohl A. Modes of administration of antibiotics for symptomatic severe urinary tract infections. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD003237. DOI: https://www.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD003237.pub2.  

DrHouse articles are written by MDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. The contents of the DrHouse site are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.

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