UTI – Why Common in Women?
Three stories, one thread.
Mehak, a 19-year old college student, who loves wearing her only pair of tight-fitted jeans to the college every day washed or not. She thinks they make her look smart.
Palak, 26-year old newly married woman who has just come back from her exotic Europe honeymoon. She feels life has never been so romantic before.
Rajni who is approaching 50 years of age is struggling with her menopause syndrome. She does not know how exactly she feels because of her pendulum-like mood swings.
These are the 3 women at different stages of life but trying to make out head and tail of a single thing that’s troubling all of them – very frequent detours to washroom in midst of a conversation, lecture or work. They dreaded these washroom trips because of the accompanied pain and burning sensation when they pass urine. All three are classic examples of urinary tract infection in women.
The shorter urethra of women makes them more susceptible in getting UTI as compared to men.
UTI is primarily caused by E. coli bacteria which reside in the colon and get excreted with the faeces. That is why anal region has a large number of E. coli. In women, the distance between anus and urethra is short, this make it easier and faster for E. coli to travel to urethra. On reaching urethra, E. coli multiply in urine and cause urinary tract infection. There are certain lifestyle factors that make this transfer more common in women.
Wearing very tight trousers trap moisture, keeps the skin damp and doesn’t let the skin breathe.
This creates a favourable breeding ground for bacteria to grow rapidly leading to UTI. This is one of the major reasons for the growing incidence of urinary tract infections among young women in India.
Women hate the sight of dirty toilets. When shopping or travelling (which happens very often!), they hold their urine longer than advisable and restrict their fluid intake to avoid venturing into a toilet. Stagnant urine is among the favourite home for E. coli bacteria.
The incidence of UTI is also high among sexually active women when bacteria are easily transferred to the urethra. It’s a myth that using condoms prevent UTI. Bacteria can transfer places within your body itself. Also, the growing use of spermicidal creams and gels to avoid pregnancies also serves as a place for bacteria to grow if not washed afterwards.
The rising number of diabetes cases among the female population is another factor.
Presence of high sugar levels in the urine of diabetic patients makes it conducive for bacterial growth. In pregnant women, inability to completely empty the bladder and frequent urges also encourages the growth of bacteria in urethra.
To keep their private part dry, most women have the habit of wiping the area after urinating. A good practice but most do it wrong way! Most women wipe from back to front which can carry along the bacteria from anus to urethra. Ideally, you should clean from front to back.
Here are some simple and effective tips that all women should follow to prevent occurrence of UTI:
- Pass urine before and after sex always
- Consume lesser sugar and exercise regularly to keep diabetes at bay
- Fear loose cotton inner wears
- Drink 2-3 litres of water per day
- Reduce intake of salt
If you’ve symptoms of urinary tract infection, then don’t suffer in silence. Consult a gynaecologist or urologist to get the right treatment.