The biological reason women get more UTIs

The biological reason women get more UTIs

The frequent urge to urinate and a burning sensation when you pee are distinct symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI). This bladder infection is 30 times more likely to occur in women than men, according to the Office on Women’s Health.

There is a biological reason for this:

“Women have shorter urethras than men, which makes it easier for bacteria to infect the bladder,” explains Dr. Jennifer Frank, a family medicine physician at Aurora Health Care. “Female anatomy also is more susceptible to UTIs given the urethra’s close proximity to the vagina and rectum, both of which have bacteria.”

An enlarged prostate can make UTIs more likely in men since the condition makes emptying the bladder more difficult.

You are also more likely to experience a UTI if you are a child, older adult, are pregnant, have diabetes, use a catheter or are immunocompromised.

There are some factors you can control to minimize your risk of developing a UTI, including:

  • Women should wipe front to back. This helps prevent the transfer of bacteria from your rectum to your urethra.
  • Drink water. Hydration helps keep your kidneys healthy, leading to a healthy urinary tract.
  • Urinate after sexual activity. Urinating helps flush any transferred bacteria out of the urethra.
  • Make frequent bathroom trips. This ensures bacteria is flushed from your urethra often.
  • Avoid fragranced products. The vagina can become irritated by scented products, including menstrual pads and tampons, sprays, tissues and soaps. This irritation can cause bacteria to accumulate.

“It’s important to seek treatment for a UTI so it doesn’t become a more serious health issue, like a kidney infection or sepsis,” says Dr. Frank. “UTIs are typically treated with antibiotics.”

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About the Author

Anna Kohler
Anna Kohler

Anna Kohler, health enews contributor, is an external communications specialist for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She received her bachelor's degree in public relations from Illinois State University and has worked in health care public relations and content marketing for over five years. In her free time, she enjoys working out, exploring new places with her friends and family, and keeping up with the latest social media trends.