A urinary tract infection happens when bacteria gets into the urinary tract and travels up to the urinary bladder. UTIs are responsible for more than 8.1 million visits to doctors each year. About 60% of females and 12% of males have UTI at least once during their lifetime.
After entering the urinary tract through the urethra, the bacteria begins to multiply in the bladder. Though our urinary system is designed to keep out such bacterias, the defenses sometimes fail. When that happens, bacteria may grow into an infection in the urinary tract, causing UTI.
There are many factors that can put a female at an increased risk of getting a UTI. Such factors include:
- Age – older females are more likely to get UTIs
- Reduced body moment after a surgery or prolonged bed rest
- Kidney stones
- Previous UTI
- Obstruction or blockages in the urinary tract, like an enlarged prostate, kidney stones, and some forms of cancer
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Abnormal development of urinary structures from birth
- Weakened immune system
- Catheter use
Why are women at a higher risk of getting UTIs?
Women are at a higher risk of getting UTIs. In some cases, some lifestyle changes can help lessen the risk of some of these factors. Below are the factors which put women at a higher risk of getting UTIs.
The location and length of the urethra in females increases their risk of getting UTIs. The urethra in females is shorter and very close to the vagina and anus. Bacteria that can naturally occur around the vagina and the anus can lead to infection in urethra and also in the rest of the urinary tract.
A female’s urethra is shorter than that of a man. This makes a shorter distance for bacteria to travel and enter the bladder. Thus, women are more likely to get UTIs than men.
Pressure exerted on the female’s urinary tract during sex can move the bacteria from around the anus into the urinary tract. Most females have bacteria in their urine after sexual intercourse, which the body usually gets rid of within 24 hours.
Spermicides can also increase the risk of UTIs and can further cause skin irritation in some females, which increases the risk of bacteria entering the urinary bladder.
Use of condoms during sex
Non-lubricated latex condoms can slightly increase friction and irritate the skin of females during intercourse. This can further increase the risk of a urinary tract infection.
However, condoms are important to practise safe sex and for reducing the risk of STIs (sexually transmitted infections). To prevent friction and skin irritation from the use of condoms, make sure to use water-based lubricant.
Diaphragms can also put extra pressure on a female’s urethra, which can decrease bladder emptying and thus increase the risk of UTIs.
Decrease in estrogen levels after menopause
After menopause, a decrease in estrogen level changes the normal bacteria in the vagina. This factor can increase the risk of a urinary tract infection.
Visit a doctor if you suspect or notice symptoms of UTI
At the first sign of a urinary tract infection, call your doctor right away. Trying to treat UTI at home, with home remedies will give the infection additional time to spread. There are different types of UTIs. In order to use natural or home remedies for UTI, it is important to know the type of UTI you have.
Delaying getting medical attention for UTI might put a female at risk of serious health complications. Females living in Delhi, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Pune and so have easy access to best gynaecologists and most advanced treatment options. So, get timely diagnosis and treatment for UTIs to prevent recurrence and any other complications.