Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are typically bacterial infections of the bladder that can lead to pain during urination. About 50% percent of women will experience this infection at least once in their lifetime. UTIs are very common among women– so this blog may be applicable to you at one point or another. Keep reading to learn a few facts about these infections!
UTIs can affect any structure within the urinary system.
While oftentimes these bacterial infections are within the bladder, a UTI can develop in the kidneys, ureters, and urethra.
Women get UTIs more often than men.
In fact, women get these infections up to 30 times more often than men. Women are more prone to getting UTIs because their urethra (the tube connecting the bladder to where urine exits the body) is shorter compared to men, making it easier for bacteria to enter the bladder. Additionally, a woman’s urethra is positioned closer to both the vagina and the anus, which are sources of germs like E. coli.
Pregnant women are at greater risk for UTI.
Hormone fluctuations during pregnancy can lead to changes in the urinary tract’s bacterial environment leading to infection. Pregnant women may also have difficulty completely emptying their bladder because of how the baby is positioned. This leftover urine in the bladder can cause infection.
Menopausal women are also at greater risk.
The decrease in estrogen can cause vaginal tissue to become thin and dry, making it easier for bacteria to grow.
Cranberry products are not clinically proven to treat UTIs.
Studies have shown inconsistent results regarding the effectiveness of cranberry products for treating infections. However, some believe that these products may hinder bacteria from attaching to the cells lining the urinary tract wall, thereby reducing the likelihood of infection. The best mode of action is to discuss the use of cranberry products with your provider.
Good hygiene practices can help prevent infection.
Wiping front to back can prevent bacteria from the anus from entering the urinary tract. Furthermore, do not hold in your urine for too long. Be sure to urinate after sex.UTIs can be easily detected with a urine sample. The good news is, UTIs are curable with the right antibiotics! If left untreated, infection can spread to the kidneys, and in more severe, but less common cases, to the bloodstream. If you have been experiencing discomfort during your bathroom visits, schedule an appointment with us!
- Urinary tract infections | Office on Women’s Health. Accessed August 20, 2023 https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/urinary-tract-infections
- Foxman, B. (2002). Epidemiology of urinary tract infections: Incidence, morbidity, and economic costs. American Journal of Medicine; 113(Suppl. 1A): 5S-13S.