There is no doubt that urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are more common in women than in men. Studies show that women are up to 30 times more likely to experience this condition than their male counterparts. While there are many possible causes for a urinary tract infection, there is no single answer for why women get it more often than men. From differences in hormones to differences in anatomy, a woman’s predisposed to a greater chance of infection over the course of her life. Read on to learn why women are considered more vulnerable to UTIs.
What Is a Urinary Tract Infection?
A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is a bacterial infection of a tube-like structure called the urethra. This tube carries urine from your bladder and out of your body whenever you go to urinate. UTIs are one of the most common reasons for a visit to the OB/GYN and can be caused by poor hygiene. However, many women can still find themselves visiting an urologist despite good hygiene habits – they are simply more susceptible to becoming infected. Identifying some of the possible causes of UTI can give you peace of mind and stop you from constantly blaming yourself.
Your Anatomy Affects the Likelihood of UTIs
The most important explanation for higher UTIs in women is female anatomy. While the urethra allows urine to depart, it also allows bacteria to enter the urinary system. The female urethra is significantly shorter than the male urethra. In comparison to the male’s, which is 6 inches long, the average female urethra is 1-2 inches long. When it comes to bacteria, this is critical. Bacteria are seeded at the urethra meatus, thus they have a shorter distance to travel to infect the bladder in females than in males. The fact that the female urethra is closer to the rectum, which contains waste and pathogens like E. coli, adds to the problem.
Female Health Conditions Can Cause UTIs
Going through menopause also makes you more susceptible to UTIs. Your vaginal tissue gets thinner and more prone to infection as you age, especially when estrogen levels drop during this time. In menopausal and postmenopausal women, estrogen creams or pills are being explored as a strategy to prevent UTIs. UTIs are also more common in pregnant women. Infections that are severe might cause complications for both you and your baby. If you suspect you have a UTI, contact your obstetrician as soon as possible so the infection can be treated.
Tips for Preventing UTIs
You can prevent UTIs by following these five simple guidelines:
- Do not use douching or other feminine hygiene products.
- After intercourse, go to the restroom to help flush any bacteria from the urethra.
- Every day, wash the back and front of the urethra meatus with soap and water.
- Drink plenty of water to encourage you to urinate more regularly and flush bacteria from your system.
- When you need to go to the restroom, completely empty your bladder.
UTIs Are Common
You should be aware that many women develop UTIs at some point. Some infections will go away on their own, while others will require antibiotic treatment. At TerraBella Lake Norman, we have lifestyle counselors on hand who can help you manage UTIs and any other day-to-day concerns with ease. Contact us today to find out more!