Sunday, January 10, 2010 ~Suzanne~, Community Member, asks

Q: Can RA cause frequent UTI infections?

Does anyone find that their RA causes frequent UTI's? I have only had one UTI in my life until I was diagnosed with RA. If I don't take the Macrobid nightly, I find I get a UTI infection a few months later.


When I was on methotrexate; I thought maybe that had something to do with it. Since it did lower my immune system, I could have easlily picked up an infection somehow. I'm wondering if that could have been the culprit.


Believe me, I take my personal hygiene very seriously, so it isn't from any sort of neglect on my part, wiping the wrong way, etc.


I've taken herbal cranberry supplements in a capsule form, tried drinking more water, cranberry juice etc. seeing if that would help prevent an infection, but that didn't always do the trick.


I'm just wondering if any others out there notice any connection with the UTI's and the RA?


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Answers (6)
Lene Andersen, Health Guide
1/12/10 11:23am

I'm going to throw a bit of extra information into the ring here. I assume that when you say you have a UTI, it is confirmed by a urine testing a doctors office? I don't mean to be insultingly obvious, there's a reason I'm asking.


When I started methotrexate, I got a lot of UTIs. It turned out that some of them were, but quite a lot of it was bladder spasms. There seems to be something about methotrexate that your bladder just doesn't like. As well, I've found that one of the symptoms of my fibromyalgia is - you've guessed it - bladder spasms. It feels very much like a UTI, but isn't. I found it got better once I started taking Flexeril (a muscle relaxant) before I go to bed. It helped my fibro-related muscle pain by sort of resetting the clock, so I wouldn't have tension on top of tension every day, but sort of start over with the fibromyalgia tensing my muscles, something I's described as "micro-spasms". Not only did it help the pain my arms, legs, etc., but it also helped my bladder.


Like you, for a long time I took antibiotics every day because I thought it prevented UTIs. In reality, I think it seemed to calm the spasms in my bladder. As you undoubtedly know, it's better for you not to take antibiotics, so I would recommend talking to your doctor about other ways of dealing with this. You may also want to consult a licensed naturopathic doctor who will be very knowledgeable about certain supplements, etc. that may help you keep your UTI at bay


~Suzanne~, Community Member
1/12/10 5:57pm

Lene...Thanks for your input on the bladder situation. When I was on the methotrexate, it did cause UTI's. I would go in and have the lab run a urine sample, and several times it came back with a high white blood count which indicates that something is going on.


I believe you about the bladder spasms. I also take muscle relaxants (Flexeril) to be exact, and they do help with the Fibromyalgia, especially at bedtime. I admit I haven't been taking these for a couple of months like I should. I suppose I need to start back on them. I take so many pills, I started to feel really bad about taking so many pills. I take meds for diabetes, hypertension, Periphal Neuropathy in my feet, atenolol for tachycardia, allergy pills, sleeping pills, pills for restless legs, pain medication for my degenerative back pain, folic acid, prescription strength vitaimin D's. Frown


Since I have been taking the Macrobid, I haven't had anymore problems with UTI's. It seems to have kept things at bay. I feel taking a low dose of antibiotics, is perhaps a smaller portion of my medical issues.


Thanks for your comment

wen, Community Member
1/16/10 6:50am

Y'all want to know something? The more time I spend here, the more things are making sense. Four years ago I was diagnosed with interstitial cystitus. Although very hard to live with, this pain just becomes a part of you and you deal with it. Anyway, when you talk about the muscle spasms and needing relief, and bladdar spasms or a feeling of UTI, I have started to wonder if I may have RA and fibromyalgia. The muscles in my arms and legs continually spasm. Especially in my arms, if I do things like dry my hair. My muscles will not let me hold something for long, without giving out. I suppose that I need to research fibromyalgia now?????

You are precious people; I really do not know what I would have done over the last week if I had not found this website.


cooper, Community Member
9/22/11 7:05pm

I'm on medication for a UTI right now.  I didn't think I had one because of the weird painful feeling that I had when I was urinating. (I did go to the doctor, she said that I did have an infection, blood in my urine and my white count was over 600.  Does that sound right? Also, 2 days later she called and said that my culture came back negative. What was that?)  I'm wondering if what I'm experiencing is a spasm.  I haven't been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, but I have alot of symptoms and am now taking cymbalta.  I do still have pain all over my body every day, so I don't even know if it's working.

West Australian, Community Member
1/11/10 8:05am

Hi Scryingeyes,


Definately! Perhaps its the medication - I know that the steriods I am on can also increase the susceptibility to thrush etc and I have been having the same problems as you - seems everywhere you turn there is a RA roadblock to having some sort of love life! Talk to your GP..I guess when it comes down to symptoms of medication everyone is so different it could be many things...Good luck and may the cranberry pants be with you...!

~Suzanne~, Community Member
1/11/10 3:37pm

Thanks for responding. That's cute about the cranberry pants. LOL! My GP put me on  microbids an (antibiotic). One pill in the evening. I haven't had one since, so that seems to be doing the trick so far. I'm afraid to go off of them for fear of getting another one. I would get a UTI about every 3-4 months without the med, so I'm going to try to stay on them forever so my cranberry pants will be with me for a long time. LOL! Thanks for your input!

mamasue, Community Member
2/ 8/10 11:50pm

yes I know what you are talking about. I have been diagnosed with RA for 13 months. In this time I have many uti's. I and currently comptimplating on stop taking methotrexate.Not only am i miserable with RA symptoms I seem to be dealing with more and more UTI's.I have had so much blood in my urine it's scary.My doctor doesn't seem to be concerned, but I am.the most recent UTI has lasted for 2 weeks. I am currently on macrobid it seems to better but not gone.

Alison from Scotland, Community Member
4/27/10 9:56am

I was so interested to read your question as this was the very question that has been going through my mind today...I am also on Methotextrate - which has been very good, despite the hair loss and thinning, but the lowering of the immunity is a good idea.  I will definately go and see my doctor about this.  What antibiotics have you tried to help?


Alison from Scotland

~Suzanne~, Community Member
5/ 6/10 6:47pm

Sorry to take so long to answer you. What I've found to work really good for me is Nitrofurantoin MCR 100mg. I've been taking a low dose for a few months now, and haven't had a problem with any infections which is good news.


See if you can't get your doctor to prescribe them. I understand some will think taking Antibotics is not a good idea, but the benefits outway the risks in my case. My doctor doesn't mind giving them to me.


I take a lot of medications, but each and every one of them help me. I'm only taking 10mg of Prednisone and it is keeping my immune system under control. I haven't flared real bad lately, so I think it's teeter-tottering between going into remission, which it did a while back.


If you have any further questions, please ask, I'm always here.



A. Roschier, Community Member
10/16/12 12:40am

Dear people,


The latest medical research says that UTIs are actually a cause for rheumatoid diseases in some 20-35% of cases - especially subclinical UTIs caused by Proteus bacterias that can also cause renal calculi. So what you might be experiencing is the worsening of the condition that caused the RA to start with rather than a side-effect from a drug (not to say that the drug would not have a role to play). Consequently, it is recommended that RA patients are checked & treated for Proteus anti-bodies. The bacteria is difficult to get rid of thought.


Check this out:


KrazyKris, Community Member
4/12/14 11:48pm

I have been wondering too if RA is the culprit of my uti's. It started approximately 4-5 years ago for my first uti that I can ever recall having. At that time my shoulder and arm started swelling so I went to the doctor. Test results came back that I needed to see a Rhuma. Dr. that I had either RA or Lupus. I went to the Rhuma Dr. as directed and he looked at me and just said I had regular arthiritis. Since then I have had numerous accounts of chronic uti's. I had it so bad once, I had to have surgery in my bladder for it. THe urologist said it was cystitis. I just was recently diagnosed with RA 2 months ago. In January tests came back again for blood in urine and possible uti with no protein (IF protein is present it may be a kidney disease). Thank God no protein. I just got the results a week ago of this urine culture. A couple of weeks prior to these results I went to my FP Doc and no uti, no blood no nothing. I had been put on Methotrexate 2 months prior upon diagnosing of RA. My stream got better, no more pain in the  am's where my bladder is, I mean I felt like whew, no more uti's in my future. Metho (for short) to me was doing it's job in that department seeing as to how I'm thinking uti's are related to RA but I'm not positive. But, yes a big fat but, I have to come off of Metho due to bad side effect reactions. I am sensitive low tolerance to a lot of pharmacuetical drugs out there. I am going to keep taking my cranberry pills and also googled a pro biotic for the kidneys that I'm going to buy and take. But I still would like a definitive answer: Does RA cause uti's?  (I think so but not sure because I didn't have any issues before this). And, is uti's a symptom of RA? I will keep searching. Glad I stumbled upon this. Thanks for listening.

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By ~Suzanne~, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/04/14, First Published: 01/10/10