To define host factors associated with an increased risk of recurrent urinary tract infection (RUTI), a case-control study was conducted in 2 populations: university women and health maintenance organization enrollees. Case patients were 229 women 18-30 years old with RUTIs; control subjects were 253 randomly selected women with no RUTI history. In a multivariate model, independent risk factors for RUTI included recent 1-month intercourse frequency (odds ratio [OR], 5.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.1-10.6 for 4-8 episodes), 12-month spermicide use (OR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.1-2.9), and new sex partner during the past year (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.2-3.2). Two newly identified risk factors were age at first urinary tract infection (UTI) </=15 years (OR, 3.9; 95% CI, 1.9-8.0) and UTI history in the mother (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.5-3.7). Blood group and secretor phenotype were not associated with RUTI. In young women, risk factors for sporadic UTI are also risk factors for recurrence. Two predictors suggest that genetic/long-term environmental exposures also predispose to RUTI.