Health & Wellness

What Increases the Risk of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in Women?

What Increases the Risk of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in Women?

A urinary tract infection is an infection that occurs in the urethra, the bladder, ureters, or kidneys. A disease that occurs in the kidney or ureter is called an upper urinary tract infection. In contrast, that which occurs in the bladder or urethra is called a lower urinary tract. UTIs are more common in women than in men because of anatomical differences.

UTIs are a common complaint in San Antonio but the good news is that they can be effectively treated by a San Antonio OB/GYN, and depending on the cause of your infection, treatment can be given through medication or surgery. UTIs that are caused by bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics while those occurring due to structural abnormalities may require surgical intervention. It is important to complete the dose of the medications so that you avoid the recurrence of the infection.

What Are the Symptoms of UTIs?

The symptoms of urinary tract infections depend on whether it is a lower or an upper urinary tract infection. An upper tract infection that is affecting the kidneys presents with systemic symptoms like fever and chills, and nausea and vomiting. An infection of the kidney is called pyelonephritis. Other symptoms of the upper urinary tract infections include pain in the flanks and lower back pain.

Lower urinary tract infections in the bladder present with pain in the lower abdomen and frequency and urgency of urination. You may also feel some pain when you are passing urine or pass urine that is blood-tinged. Sometimes an infection in the bladder can cause you to feel pressure inside the pelvis. An infection in the urethra presents with a burning sensation or pain when passing urine.

If a UTI is not treated, you may develop complications like the formation of scars and structures inside the urethra and chronic kidney infections which can cause kidney failure, which is a life-threatening condition. The disease may also spread to the bloodstream to cause septicemia or septic shock. A urinary tract infection in a pregnant woman can trigger premature labor. You should complete the dose of the UTI medications to prevent a recurrence.

Why Are Women Prone to UTIs?

The anatomy of the urinary system structures in women makes them more susceptible to UTIs. The urethra in females is shorter than that in males, and this makes it easy for disease-causing organisms to ascend to the bladder or kidneys. Females also have a more straight urethra than males, and this also aids in the infection spreading through the urinary system.

There is the proximity between the female urethra and the anus, and therefore the disease-causing organisms from the anus can easily spread to the urinary system. Wiping from back to front after visiting the toilet can also cause UTIs. Some factors that lower your immunity like smoking and alcoholism, having immunocompromising diseases and pregnancy can also increase the risk of UTIs in women. Having unprotected sex also increases the risk or urinary tract infections.

Conclusion

UTIs are infections of the urethra, bladder, ureters, or kidneys. Symptoms of UTIs include pain with urination, flank pain, and passing bloody urine. Women are more prone to UTIs than men because they have a short, straight urethra that is close to the anus. You can prevent UTIs by maintaining good genital hygiene by practicing safer sex and going for regular screenings in a hospital. 

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