By Lauren Linhard –

The first time I had a UTI I asked the doctor why I had been blessed with such a treat. His answer: “Because you’re a woman.” Good thing we were in the ER because the look on my face should have killed him. What a dick answer….which is, unfortunately, true.

Urinary tract infections are 10 times more common in women than men, for no other reason than because how we are built. The short distance from the urethra to the anus makes it easy for bacteria to travel to the urethral opening and into the bladder.

Exciting stuff, right? It doesn’t stop there. The urethra is so close to the vagina, a lovely UTI could be the result of last night’s amazing sexcapades. The risk goes up with a new partner, multiple partners or if you like it rough and on the regular.

Nothing about a UTI sounds fun, and it’s not. But with the two subsequent infections I’ve had to deal with, I’m always thankful for the first one because I immediately know what’s going on and what to do about it.

So, make an appointment with your gyno (or pop into an urgent care facility) if you are experiencing any of the following: burning during urination; you need to pee all the time, but never actually pee; you’ve got cramps or pains in the lower abdomen; your pee smells (not like asparagus); or you’ve got chills/fever.

The typical treatment for a UTI is antibiotics, cranberry juice and a ton of water (because antibiotics make it easier to get dehydrated). Without treatment, the bacteria will travel to the kidneys, causing a more serious infection called pyelonephritis. Oh joy!

Try an over-the-counter UTI test if you aren’t sure if you need a doctor.

There are a few simple preventative measures to avoid being the lucky 50 percent of women who will have a UTI in their lifetimes.

Take note and take heed:

  • Wipe from front to back.
  • Don’t be afraid to invest in some Summer’s Eve or similar product when feeling funky.
  • Pee before and after sex (it’s not a myth! Do it).
  • Go pee when you have to pee (come on people).
  • Drink cranberry juice or take cranberry pills.
  • Do not use diaphragms or condoms with spermicide as contraception.

If you’re following these six commandments and are still getting UTIs pretty regularly – three or more a year – it’s time to talk to the doc about other, more aggressive treatments. Ain’t nothing worse than feeling your lady parts have betrayed you.