Can laser hair removal cause a urinary tract infection (UTI)?
Starting your laser hair removal journey is exciting. Your unwanted hair will soon be gone—for good!—but now you think you might have a urinary tract infection (UTI)… did your hair-free journey come with an unexpected price?
A UTI can be uncomfortable and sometimes even painful. But, did you just get a UTI from your latest laser hair removal treatment?
We did the research, and the simple answer is—NO. And here’s why!
First things first, what is a UTI, and who can get one?
A UTI is an infection in any part of the urinary tract (your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra). Infections occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to grow in the bladder.
Just like most anyone can get laser hair removal, white hair being the exception as it’s not treatable, anyone can develop a UTI. However, women are more predisposed to developing them due to having a shorter urethra in comparison to men. Other risk factors include poor personal hygiene, hormonal changes, and a suppressed immune system.
How do I know if I have a UTI?
The symptoms of a UTI can vary depending on things like the person’s age, gender, and by what part of the urinary tract is infected.
Common symptoms of a UTI can include:
- A strong and persistent urge to urinate
- A burning sensation when urinating
- Abnormal coloring of urine (red, pink, or cola color can be signs of blood in the urine)
- Strong smelling urine
- Pelvic pain (in women)
Keep in mind that this is not an extensive list. It is possible to experience symptoms other than the ones listed or experience no symptoms at all. If you suspect you have a UTI, you should contact your physician.
I think I have a UTI, what should I do?
The only way to know with certainty is by contacting a medical professional and getting tested. A quick urine sample can determine if you have a UTI, and it can help your physician provide the proper treatment for it. The sooner you treat a UTI, the better!
Laser hair removal is a non-invasive procedure because it’s done on the surface of your skin.
So, can getting laser hair removal cause a UTI?
Not at all! Laser hair removal is a non-invasive procedure because it’s done on the surface of your skin. The laser targets and eliminates the root of the unwanted hair by focusing on the melanin or pigment of the hair (Check out our post The “Science” behind Laser Hair Removal to learn more).
This means the laser won’t reach any part of your urinary tract, making it safe for you to laser off any unwanted hair, even on your intimate body areas.
Additionally, most places that offer laser hair removal services have thorough disinfecting and safety practices. The best thing you can do is research each place that you are considering for your laser hair removal treatments. Read through their website, check out their reviews, and ask questions. The more you know, the better!
If I have a UTI and have to take antibiotics, can I still get laser hair removal?
Most medications do not affect your ability to get laser hair removal. For years it was thought that some medications could increase your risk of complications from laser hair removal because they might increase your photosensitivity. However, recent scientific research has found that not to be the case.
That’s because, the wavelengths of light which cause photosensitivity (such as UV light from the sun) do not overlap with those used in laser hair removal treatments. Additionally, cases of complications occurring as a result of laser hair treatments on people taking such medications have not been reported in recent medical literature. If you are unsure of your medications’ possible side effects, talk to your physician about your laser hair removal treatments. Your physician will be able to verify any potential side effects.
What does this all mean?
The fear of getting a UTI should not keep you away from getting the smooth skin you’ve always wanted. Laser hair removal will not cause a urinary tract infection.
If you do have a UTI and are getting treated for it, talk to your physician before starting any laser hair removal treatments. As long as you follow your physician’s advice and any laser treatment guidelines, you are good to go.