The gender disparity between men and women when it comes to urinary tract infections (UTIs) is a big one — females get UTIs 30 times more often than men.
As a common reason for urgent care visits at the three greater Los Angeles area locations of Michael Bazel, M.D., our team, led by Dr. Bazel, thought we’d take a deeper dive into urinary tract infections in this month’s blog post.
Here’s a look at why UTIs strike women far more than men and what we can do about the problem.
UTI, in brief
Before we get into the gender disparity, let’s quickly review what a UTI entails. In short, a UTI occurs when bacteria gain access to your lower urinary tract and cause an infection. In most cases, this occurs in your urethra and bladder, but the infection can travel up to your kidneys, as well.
These infections are incredibly common and drive 8-10 million people in the United States to seek medical help each year.
Why do UTIs favor females?
The reason women develop UTIs with far greater frequency than men comes down to anatomy. First, the opening of the female urethra is quite close to the anus and vagina, which allows for easier cross-contamination.
Second, the female urethra is much shorter than a man’s urethra, which means bacteria don’t have to travel as far to reach the bladder.
Between a greater possibility of bacterial contamination and easier access to the urinary tract, women are more vulnerable to these types of infections.
A UTI can be very uncomfortable, thanks to symptoms that include:
- Painful urination
- A frequent and urgent need to urinate (even when nothing comes out)
- Lower back pain
- Fever and chills
The good news is that we can easily treat these types of infections during a quick visit to our offices. Once we confirm the presence of an infection, we can prescribe a course of antibiotics which should work quickly to clear your infection. You can do your part by drinking plenty of fluids to help flush out your urinary tract.
If you’ve had a UTI, you know that this is one condition you’d rather not deal with in the first place. We’d like to recommend some great prevention techniques:
- Wipe yourself from front to back to avoid moving bacteria from your anus to your urethra
- Urinate after sexual intercourse to flush out bacteria
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid lingering in wet bathing suits or underwear
- Don’t hold your pee
- Change period products often
These preventive practices can be very effective in keeping UTIs at bay.
If, despite your best efforts, you develop a UTI, please call one of our conveniently located offices in Panorama City, Bell, or Valley Village, California, to schedule an appointment today. Or you can request an appointment online anytime.