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The female urethra is very short, a couple of centimeters long to be exact, that is much shorter than the male’s, allowing bacteria easy and quick access to the bladder. And, this probably accounts for why women are more likely to develop urinary tract infection, especially with intercourse. In addition, a women’s urethral opening is near sources of bacteria from the anus and vagina.
Here’s a list of the UTI risk factors that can make some women more prone to getting an infection than others.
Genitals must be kept dry and clean! Less than careful hygiene, especially after developing loose stools or diarrhea, is one of the most frequent causes of repeated urinary tract infections.
It is very easy to contaminate your fingers when wiping yourself with toilet paper. And, if those contaminated fingers come anywhere close to the opening of the urethra, there is a high likelihood of infection.
Only white unscented toilet paper that is thick and doesn’t shed particles should be used as you may react to the dyes and chemicals in the other toilet papers. Unbleached toilet paper would be even better to reduce any possible chlorine exposure and the environmental contamination that comes from the bleaching process.
However, some doctors argue that hygiene is hardly ever the issue of UTIs. Presence of bacteria in the urine does not necessarily mean that you have an infection.
In the late stages of pregnancy, women seem no more prone to an infection than non-pregnant women. However, about 5 to 7 percent of these women develop a urinary infection, probably due to previous infections before pregnancy, high sexual activity and diabetes. And also due to hormonal changes along with shifts in the position of the urinary tract during pregnancy (the enlarged uterus continuously presses on the bladder).
It should be notated that women who experience an untreated urinary tract infection during their third trimester of pregnancy are at greater risk of delivering a child who suffers from mental retardation or developmental delay.
Not drinking enough water can increase your risk of a urinary tract infection. Dark-yellow urine and infrequent urination are the symptoms of dehydration. Therefore, all adult women should consume around six to eight cups of fluids or beverages each day.
Many women, however, believe that drinking water causes fluid retention. In fact, the opposite is true. The body retains water only if there is two little water is the cells. Unfortunately, we seldom think of water as an essential, vital nutrient and don’t realize the important part it plays in major body functions.
Some women are liable to develop an infection if, during sexual intercourse, their partner enters their vagina ‘from behind’. This is simply because in this position it is more likely that bacteria from around the anus may be pushed forward towards the urethra.
In some women, high sexual activity may traumatize the urethra, disrupting its lining and making it more susceptible to infection. This type of infection is frequently called “honeymoon cystitis” which is a charming nickname for UTIs caused by frequent sexual activity.
A history of urinary tract infections or bladder infections in childhood also poses a risk for recurrences in adult life.
Women with certain blood types attract bacteria which attach to cells that line the urinary tract, causing recurrent urinary tract infections. It has been suggested that both the A phenotype for the AB0 blood grup, as well as the female gender, constitute risk for the emergence of urinary tract infections. Women with A phenotype are more likely to suffer from urinary tract infection due to E. coli bacterium.
In postmenopausal women usually vaginal tissues start to break down due to a decrease in estrogen levels leading to increased vaginal pH, weakened muscles of the pelvic floor (stress incontinence) and to the bladder prolapse. Therefore, in general, the rate of urinary tract infections gradually increases with age.
Leakage of urine can have a varying impact on people’s lives, in many cases it can be very distressing and embarrassing in social situations. It often prevents one living a normal life, interfering with some of your normal activities. This embarrassment prevents many women seeking help.
Incontinence, however, is not a disease, but rather a symptom of another condition involving the urinary system, such as acute or frequent bladder infections which may be temporary.
Older women are at high risk for developing bladder infection (cystitis), with the incidence being as high as 33 out of 100 people. What may place them at increased risk is
The body’s inability to completely empty the bladder can be classed as either acute or chronic. Usually, among others this failure is associated with such conditions, mainly obstructions, as:
Women who use a diaphragm are more likely to develop a urinary tract infection. Also women whose partners use a condom with spermicidal foam tend to have growth of E. coli bacteria in the vagina, which may enter the urethra causing an infection.
Obstructions in the urinary tract that tend to increase the likelihood of infection can also be due to:
Urinary tract infections occur when the immune system is suppressed or compromised due to chronic illness, such a diabetes, multiple sclerosis, chronic kidney disease, AIDS, or cancer. Theses diseases make it more difficult for the body to fight and flush out UTI-causing bacteria.
The unfavorable metabolic changes, especially the elevated blood sugar levels put diabetics at a higher risk of urinary tract infections. The incidence of the urologic complications of diabetes, such as autonomic neuropathy affecting the urinary bladder, ranges from 27 percent to 85 percent.
In addition to autonomic bladder dysfunction in diabetes, there is an increased incidence of asymptomatic and symptomatic bacteria, which can progress to kidney infection and kidney damage. It has been attributed to numerous etiologies, such as:
However, there are very few published research studies which address either the clinical aspects of bladder dysfunction in the diabetics or the basic molecular and cellular aspects of the diabetic bladder.
Neurological conditions like paraplegia, a spinal cord injury/impairment (SCI), usually result in neurogenic bladder – a dysfunctional, unstable or atomic bladder, with no muscle tone. A partial or complete lack of control over the bladder and sphincter is due to the compromised nerve receptors that are responsible for contracting and relaxing the muscles of the bladder and the sphincter, and registering feelings of pressure or release.
Due to this condition, most paraplegics are exposed to the regular use of catheters and drugs. (The more traditional cap and bag, with continual drainage, is falling from favor even though it is a safer system).
However, catheters often increase the risk of urinary tract injuries and repeated bladder infections – a common problem in people with spinal cord impairment.
In time, exposed to repeated or long-term courses of antibiotics, they also develop resistance to drugs what makes maintaining healthy urinary tract for them even more difficult.
Abnormal structure of the bladder can be something that you are born with or that develops later in life. Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) is a congenital abnormality of the urinary tract that some children are born with, in which urine flows back into the ureters or kidney during urination.
In children under the age of one year with a urinary tract infection, 70 percent will have VUR. This number decreases to 15 percent by the age of 12. In later life there is a definite female preponderance with 85 percent of cases being female.