A reader asked us if bikes cause bladder infections and Nurse Gail Ingram explains the relationship between bicycles and UTIs:
Dear Nurse Gail,
I keep getting bladder infections. I use the exercise bikes at the gym and my boyfriend thinks they might be dirty. What do you think?
The most common cause of urinary tract infections [UTIs] is Escherichia coli, which is often called “E-coli.” E-coli is a bacteria found in poop. We all have it and it’s normal.
Unfortunately for the ladies, the opening to the urethra (which leads to the bladder) is precariously close to the pooper. When lady parts get wet and squishy, E-coli from the backend can work its way into the mix. This usually happens during sex, but depending on how hot and sweaty you get on the stationery bike, it could happen then, too. With any kind of sustained physical thrusting action, the E-coli tainted mixture can be forced into the urethra and cause a bladder infection. So a UTI isn’t caused by a dirty bike seat—it is caused by a dirty butt.
Thankfully, there are some simple ways to prevent UTIs in your situation. Always shower after taking care of your bathroom business. If that isn’t possible, use wipes. Remember to wash from the front to the back preventing E-coli from entering the clean zone. Shower or use wipes before heading to the gym and pee (forcefully!) as soon as you get off the exercise bike. Take a shower after your workout.
Since you mention having a boyfriend, there is a possibility your bladder infections might be related to sex. Use the tips mentioned above before and after sex like you would before and after work outs. Also be aware of how certain sexual positions and styles can contribute to infections. Limit vigorous, repetitive and sustained activity near your urethra and if your boyfriend starts playing in the backyard, he needs to stay in the backyard until you both take showers.