Epidemiology of urinary tract infection: II. Diet, clothing, and urination habits

Am J Public Health. 1985 Nov;75(11):1314-7. doi: 10.2105/ajph.75.11.1314.


Although several health habits and behaviors are commonly cited in medical and nursing textbooks as potential causes of urinary tract infection (UTI) in women, few have been studied in a systematic fashion. In a case-control study, we evaluated the associations between UTI and the most commonly mentioned risk factors: urination habits, diet, clothing, and soaps. Because sexual intercourse and diaphragm use increase the risk of UTI, we assessed the effect of health habits and behaviors controlling for these two risk factors. Women with initial UTI were compared with controls with no UTI history; women with a second UTI were compared to those with initial UTI. For the 25 initial cases, 19 secondary cases, and 181 controls enrolled in the study from a university health service, we found using tampons and drinking soft drinks to be moderately associated (RR greater than or equal to 1.4) with both initial and recurrent UTI. Although several other individual habits had only small associations with UTI, several of these behaviors together might substantially increase risk of initial or recurring UTI.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • California
  • Clothing / adverse effects*
  • Diet*
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intrauterine Devices / adverse effects
  • Sex
  • Soaps / adverse effects
  • Spermatocidal Agents / adverse effects
  • Student Health Services
  • Tampons, Surgical / adverse effects
  • Universities
  • Urinary Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / etiology*
  • Urination*


  • Soaps
  • Spermatocidal Agents