Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are troublesome and painful, and sadly enough very common – actually it’s the world’s most common type of bacterial infection. More women than men are affected and the difference is evident already after the first year of life. Why? Partly because of our different anatomy.
UTI in the figures
About half of all women will experience UTI during their life-time
The risk of getting UTI is 3-4 times greater if you are a woman
About 1/3 of all women at the age of 24 have had UTI
Women between 16-35 years are about 35 times more likely to be affected by UTI than men
Reasons for UTI
The figures might sound a little unfair, but has to do with how our bodies are built. Men’s longer urethra facilitates a natural bacteria washout every time they void. Also the position of the female urethra, close to rectum and vagina, is unfortunately beneficial for bacteria exchange.
UTIs are fairly common for sexually active women, although peeing before and after sex can help prevent infection. Women with diabetes are more likely to get a UTI because of the condition's impact on the immune system.
Other reasons are use of birth control and antibiotics, which may disrupt the normal vaginal flora. Also genetic factors and estrogen levels are shown to be of importance.
Usage of urethral catheters increases the risk of UTI, and that’s why it is important with correct technique and a conscious catheter choice. Hydrophilic coated catheters are for example proven to reduce the risk of UTI and are often preferred by users.