A urinary tract infection is an infection of the urinary tract, which includes the kidneys, the bladder and the urethra. The role of the bladder and kidneys is to store waste and remove it from the body, respectively. These waste then excreted from the body as urine through the urethra.
UTIs in women
The chance of getting a urinary tract infection in women is greater than in men. Some scientists even speculate that the risk in women is twice as much compared to men. Moreover, the infection in women tends to repeat itself over the years.
The infection is often caused by germs getting in the urinary tract. Some cases of infection go away on their own without any treatments. Possible signs of a urinary tract infection include:
- Painful or a burning urination
- A need to urinate more often
- Unable to urinate even when you feel the urge to do so
- Urine leakage
- Cloudy, dark, smelly or bloody urine
What causes UTIs in women
You might have heard that women should wipe from front to back. This old saying is actually a way to prevent UTIs. It makes more sense when you look at the anatomy of the urethra, the vagina and the anus. The urethra, a tube that leads urine out of the body, is located near the vagina and the anus. Wiping from front to back can prevent bacteria and germs from the vagina and anus to infect the urethra. From the urethra, the infection can travel up to the bladder and infect the inner organs. The urethra in women is much shorter compared to men, thus bacteria and germ can travel faster.
Besides bacteria that come from the anus, some other activities can introduce bacteria to the urethra.
Yes, sex can lead to UTI. It’s a sad truth, but the motion from sex can transfer bacteria from the vagina or anus to the urethra. A good tip to avoid UTI from sex is pee within 30 minutes of having sex also lower the risk.
Constipation and diarrhea
Being constipated makes it harder for your bladder to empty urine all the way. Thus urine and all the bacteria in it are trapped in your body. The bacteria then grow and cause an infection.
Diarrhea can also increase your risk of UTIs. Diarrhea results in loose stool which can get everywhere. This creates an opportunity for bacteria to make their way into your urethra easily. How to prevent this? Wipe from front to back.
When your blood sugar increases, the extra sugar is filtered to the urine. This creates an environment in which bacteria thrive. However, this is only truth when you have diabetes. Eating too much sugar won’t make you have UTIs.
Holding it in
If you need to release yourself, go! Holding it in will only increase the time bacteria stay in your body and lead to infection.
Drinking water brings many benefits to your health and one of them is preventing UTIs. More water means more urine, which helps to flush the bacteria out of your body.
If you switch your birth control, the resulting hormone shift could lead to a change in normal bacteria in your vagina, which could up the odds of a UTI, says Hawes. Use of diaphragms and spermicides can also increase your chances of developing one, Kasper adds.
Not changing your pads and tampons can easily lead to UTIs. Bacteria can grow very easily in these products. Your underwear is also a source of UTIs. Chaffing materials of underwear or underwear with thin string can transfer bacteria. Wearing cotton underwear is the best option as they prevent moisture that allows bacteria to grow.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: April 30, 2017 | Last Modified: April 30, 2017
Urinary Tract Infections. https://familydoctor.org/condition/urinary-tract-infections/. Accessed April 30, 2017
Your Guide to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). http://www.webmd.com/women/guide/your-guide-urinary-tract-infections#1. Accessed April 30, 2017
8 Most Common Causes Of UTIs. http://www.prevention.com/health/8-most-common-causes-of-utis. Accessed April 30, 2017