Can I Swim in the Ocean With a UTI? Here’s What You Need to Know

An underwater image of a woman swimming in the ocean.

Swimming in the ocean is a vital part of any beach vacation. 

Whether you spend your time dipping your toes in at the shore or enjoy riding the waves on your surfboard, the ocean is a refreshing place to spend your summer and vacation days.

But is it safe to swim in the ocean with a UTI? 

Various studies have shown that too much time in the water can increase your risk of developing UTIs and exaggerate the painful symptoms associated with the infection if you’ve already been diagnosed with one.

If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms consistent with UTIs or have increased symptoms after spending a day in the ocean, we can help with effective diagnosis and treatment today.

Let’s explore UTIs in more detail, including symptoms, causes, risk factors, treatment options, and answering the question, “Can I swim in the ocean with a UTI?”

First, What Is a UTI?

“UTI” is an initialism for “urinary tract infection.” 

UTIs typically occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply inside the bladder. 

While the bladder is the most affected organ, a UTI could negatively impact the kidneys in more severe cases.

Infections limited to the bladder cause mild to moderate pain and can be treated quickly without further complications. Those that spread to and affect the kidneys are more severe and complicated. 

Both require medical diagnosis and treatment. So, if you suspect you have a UTI, you should be treated immediately. 

UTI Symptoms

UTI symptoms differ by person and the part of the urinary tract they affect. 

The most common symptoms, by area, are as follows:

Part of Urinary Tract Symptoms
Bladder Pelvic pressure Abdomen pain Frequent and painful urination Blood in urine
UrethraDischarge A burning sensation during urination
Kidneys Back pain Side pain Chills Nausea and vomiting

If more than one area of the urinary tract is affected, you may have a mix of the above symptoms with additional, more severe symptoms that could include

  • A persistent urge to urinate
  • Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
  • Urine that appears cloudy, red, or bright pink
  • Strong-smelling urine

In some mild and extremely rare cases, people may not experience symptoms at all. 

Risk Factors 

You are at an increased risk of developing a UTI if you

  • Are a female
  • Have urinary tract abnormalities
  • Are actively having sexual intercourse
  • Take birth control
  • Are in menopause
  • Have a suppressed immune system
  • Have a catheter 
  • Have recently undergone a urinary tract procedure or surgery

Can I Swim in the Ocean With a UTI?

The short answer is no; you should avoid swimming with a UTI.

Long periods spent in oceans, lakes, and swimming pools can increase the risk of bacteria pooling in your swimsuit that would eventually travel through your urethra and into your bladder. Once it reaches your bladder, it will begin to multiply and can quickly lead to a UTI.

If swimming cannot be entirely off limits when diagnosed with a UTI, we recommend that you swim for short periods and thoroughly wash and dry yourself after your time in the ocean. 

It is also important to wash and dry your swimsuit after any time spent in the water. Rewearing it before washing should always be completely off limits, even if you do not currently have a UTI. 

If you believe you have a UTI, or your symptoms have worsened after swimming in the ocean, you should visit your local urgent care for further evaluation and treatment. 

Effective Treatment Options

Antibiotics are the most common and effective way to treat a UTI. 

If you’re diagnosed with a UTI, your doctor may prescribe any of the following medications:

  • Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole
  • Fosfomycin 
  • Nitrofurantoin
  • Cephalexin
  • Ceftriaxone

Get Treatment for a UTI Now at Emerald Coast Urgent Care

If you have symptoms consistent with a UTI, especially after swimming, our team of medical professionals is here to provide you with experienced UTI treatment and care seven days a week. 

At Emerald Coast Urgent Care, no appointments are ever necessary. Simply walk in or schedule an appointment online. Don’t delay; get a prompt diagnosis and proper treatment today.

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