Why UTI is Common Among Women and How to Prevent It?

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Jupitor Chakma
A doctor, passionate health blogger and internet enthusiast. There is no ending to learning (and I sincerely believe it). I write regularly at my health blog http://healthyone.org/. Visit my health blog to read the unique health contents.
Jupitor Chakma
Jupitor Chakma

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UTI pain

UTI pain

UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) is inflammation of the urinary system, which include urethra, urinary bladder, ureters (two in number, that channel urine produced in two kidneys), and kidneys. Common cause of inflammation is bacterial infection. Most commonly, lower urinary tract is involved in UTI, namely bladder and urethra, hence called lower UTI. Majority of the cases of UTI are generally mild, however in severe cases, UTI may lead to permanent kidney damage and renal failure.

Why commonly women suffer from UTI and not men?

Women are at greater risk of developing UTI in compare to men. This is because of anatomical reason and less of physiological reason. In fact more than 90% of the patients of UTI, are women. Anatomically, female urethra is located near to anus and shorter and straighter then male urethra. Because of its proximity to anus, bacteria can easily reach urethra from anus and rectum, which numerous pathogenic bacteria that commonly causes UTI, such as e. coli. Once the bacteria reach urethra, they can easily travel upstream, because female urethra is straight and short. In comparison male urethral opening is far away from anus, it is much longer and tortuous, which makes it difficult for bacteria to find entry in the urethra and from there, upstream. Among post-menopausal women, UTI may become more common, because of lack of estrogen, the vaginal flora is reduced, which no more can provide protection.

How to prevent UTI, especially among women?

It is not possible to completely stop UTI among females, however it is possible to reduce the risk and number of infections by taking some preventive measures, such as

  • Drink plenty of water (liquid). It is recommended by most experts that, one should drink at least 2-3 liters of drinking water daily. In laymen’s term, drink 8-10 glasses of water daily. Make sure to drink throughout the day at regular interval and do not drink excess at any time. That is instead of drinking one liter in morning and another liter in evening, drink a glass of water every 1-2 hours, which help in maintaining adequate urine output and prevent growth of bacteria in bladder and flush out bacteria from urethra.
  • Urinate and wash genitals with plenty of water after sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse is a common cause of UTI among women, especially newly married women, known as “honeymoon cystitis”, (cystitis is infection of bladder). Urethra is exposed easily to pathogenic bacteria, during and after sexual intercourse. It is better not to use soap for washing genitals, because, it may make genital excessively dry and prone to infection. Genitals should be kept clean (and regularly cleaned).
  • Make sure to empty bladder completely when you urinate. Residual urine in bladder can act as culture media for bacteria to grow and lead to UTI.
  • Follow good hygiene, for example, after using toilet, wipe from front to back. This will prevent spread of bacteria from anus to urethra, because urethra is present anterior to anus. Non-Westerners who use water after toilet (instead of toilet paper), should make sure to wash thoroughly and properly and dry it before wearing undergarments.
  • Avoid using irritants (chemicals and cosmetics) in genital area and its nearby areas, such as strong soap, scented napkins etc.
  • Do not soak in your favorite bathtub for more than 30 minutes a day or more than twice a day.
  • Use cotton undergarments and change undergarments at least once a day, preferably more frequently.

Following these guidelines can reduce incidences of UTI to great extent, although it cannot fully prevent UTI in women, because of anatomical reasons.


Image courtesy of marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net