A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in your urinary system, which includes kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. UTIs occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder. The urinary system, by design, keeps out such bacteria, in certain cases bacteria may penetrate the urinary tract and cause an infection.
Most people know what having a UTI entails but not many know that women are more prone to the illness than men. This means that a woman is more likely to catch a UTI. The reason behind this phenomenon is entirely biological.
Urinary tract infections are more common in women, as there are certain factors specific to them:
Women have a shorter urethra than men, which shortens the distance that bacteria has to travel to reach the bladder. Moreover, the opening to the urethra is closer to the rectum, where bacteria resides, thereby increasing the chances of causing infection.
2. Sexual activity and contraception
Women who are sexually active are prone to develop UTI and so does using certain types of birth control. Women using diaphragms and spermicidal agents for birth control could be at higher risk of being infected.
3. Menstrual health
There is a decline in estrogen circulation after menopause. This may cause changes in the urinary tract, making women vulnerable to the infection.
4. Skin sensitivity
The external urethral meatus in women is mostly mucosa, which is the moist tissue lining the inside of the vagina. This part of the skin is thinner and more sensitive than other areas of the body, making the female urethra irritable. The irritated and sensitive skin could create an environment for bacteria to potentially grow and cause UTI.
The risk of developing a UTI can be reduced by adopting simple practices such as staying hydrated as water helps dilute the urine. Drinking enough water also ensures that you urinate frequently, which in turn flushes out bacteria from the urinary tract.
It is also important that you don’t hold your pee for long hours because doing so will give time to the bacteria to multiply. Cleaning up properly after urinating also helps prevent the spread of bacteria.
Also, avoid using synthetic products on your genital area as it can irritate the urethra.
So, ladies, take charge of your health and be a step ahead when it comes to your vaginal hygiene and managing UTI.