Do You Get More UTIs During Menopause?

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

I have never had a urinary tract infection until I began experiencing symptoms of perimenopause. Does menopause increase the likelihood of developing urinary tract infections?

Doctor's response

The drop in estrogen levels associated with symptoms of the menopausal transition can affect the urinary system. Like the vaginal wall, the urethra (the tube that drains the bladder and is used for urination) undergoes changes as estrogen levels drop. These changes in the urethra may lead to different kinds of urinary symptoms, including an increased susceptibility to urinary tract infections.

Some of the urinary symptoms that can be associated with menopause include:

  • the urge to urinate often, or when the bladder is not full (termed urinary urgency),
  • discomfort or burning with urination,
  • leakage of urine with coughing, laughing, sneezing, or lifting heavy objects (termed stress incontinence), and
  • the need to urinate more frequently, including at night.

If you are experiencing urinary symptoms, talk to your doctor about treatment options. Drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding overfilling of the bladder, and emptying the bladder before and after sexual intercourse can also help prevent urinary tract infections from occurring.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


Patient information: Menopause (Beyond the Basics).

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Last Editorial Review: 7/7/2017