Doctor, every time I use unfamiliar toilets I get a UTI. Can I take antibiotics immediately to avoid this? Gabby
Women, unlike men use toilets while sitting on toilet seats. The fear here then is the risk of infections from the seats thought to be ever teeming with germs. But what is true is that if used properly the seats are not likely to be common transmission channels for infections.
That said, the fear of contracting infections from using public toilets is likely to make women not only avoid taking enough fluids but will also make them hold urine both which may risk urinary tract infections (UTI) more than contracting the infections from toilet seats.
UTI mostly happens to women because naturally they have the anus neighbouring the urethral opening (and vaginal opening) with a likelihood of anal bacteria invading the urethral opening and moving up to infect the urethra, bladder, ureters and kidneys in what is called Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).
Passing copious amounts of urine often, flushes germs out of the urinary tract hence preventing UTI.
Dirty toilets are not known to transmit STDS or UTI. Many people clean toilets with various chemicals, some corrosive with the likelihood of causing reactions to the contact parts resulting in being mistaken for STDs and UTI.
So please, whereas UTI may not be transmitted by dirty toilets, it is prudent when one visits toilets to limit touching surfaces as much as possible and wash hands with soap and water in the washrooms and at a tap outside of the toilets.
Prevention of UTI includes taking lots of fluids and passing urine when one has the urge.
Taking antibiotics to prevent UTI is unnecessary and is likely to increase antibiotic resistance which has increasingly made Ugandans sick with infections that fail to heal unless very expensive newer drugs have been used.