All the facts are in: it’s been established that women are more prone to urinary tract infections than men.
Unfortunately, more than 50% of women will have at least one case of UTI in their lifetime, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
This sneaky infection, which causes troublesome symptoms, such as abdominal painful urination or balisawsaw, and frequent urination, may recur when either of these two things happen:
• Conventional/home treatments used to suppress the infection seem to work at first but are unable to eliminate the bacteria; or
• the woman is exposed to a different strain of bacteria.
Even so, these don’t explain why women are at increased risk of urinary infections. The culprits can be any one or a combination of these factors.
Reasons Why Women are More Prone to UTI than Men
1. Anatomic structure
Women get UTI when the Escherichia coli bacteria from the external genitals and the area around the anus enter the urinary tract and reach the bladder. E. coli strains are naturally present in these areas, which puts women at even more risk. Because the urethra, the part that transports urine out of the bladder, is short, bacteria can easily reach the urinary tract. In fact, the most probable cause of a urinary infection in women is contamination of the perineum area (between the anus and external genitals) and the urethral area.
2. Sexual activity
A lot of women get a bad case of cystitis after they start being sexually active or when they have a new partner, as intercourse may introduce bacteria strains into the genital and urethral area. Also, when women don’t pee right after sex, bacteria stay in the urinary tract. This can cause them to multiply, leading to infection
For women, paying attention to good hygiene, especially when they’re sexually active, can help ward off UTI. Peeing after sex and regular cleansing of the area are habits that can reduce the risk of getting an infection.
3. Use of certain birth control methods
Some types of birth control for women, like spermicidal agents and diaphragms, make women more prone to bladder infections. Most spermicidescontain a harmful chemical called nonoxynol-9, which is associated with increased risk of urinary infection. The diaphragm, on the other hand, can bruise the parts near the bladder, making it easier for bacteria to latch onto the inner linings.
Yes, there’s good evidence around to suggest that genetics may predispose women to UTI. A detailed examination of one’s family history can point to a close association between family members who get repeated urinary infections. It’s because they have an increased density of some types of carbohydrate receptors, to which certain strains of E. coli can adhere to.
Unfortunately, if you suspect your urinary infection is brought on by genetics, there’s not much you can do but take extra care. Also, seek medical treatment immediately to lessen the gravity of your UTI symptoms and manage the disease well.
As women age, they also become more susceptible to UTI. Bacteria in the urine, also called bacteriuria, may occur in about 10% to 15% of women aged 65 to 70 and around 20% to 50% of women aged 80 and older. If the woman has contracted a urinary infection such as cystitis or kidney problems in the premenopause stage, the infection is much more likely to recur during the menopause and postmenopause phases. A lot of factors could be at play here, such as genetics, hormonal changes, and complications with other illnesses that come with age.
Pregnancy can cause hormonal fluctuations that make women more susceptible to bacteria. Plus, it also induces anatomic changes, though these are often temporary. During pregnancy, an expanding and heavy uterus presses onto the bladder, making it harder for urine to exit the urinary tract. When urine remains in the bladder, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and therefore puts the pregnant woman at increased risk of UTI.