Infections in urinary tracts and bladder are significantly more common in women than in men. There are a number of reasons why women are more frequently affected. Other names for the condition are UTI, cystitis or bladder infection.
Why women are more often affected
The female urethra is very sensitive to infections. Women’s urethrae are shorter and situated in a place on the body that is more sensitive to bacterial invasions. A shorter urethra and a higher risk of getting bacteria in the genital area and the urethra are two reasons why urinary tract infections are a common disease in women.
Other risk factors include sexual activity (especially with a new partner), contact with spermicidal substances, the use of a catheter or a generally weak condition or weakened immune system. Furthermore, parasites and sexually transmitted infections can increase the risk of infection. There may be genetic risks – if other family members are often infected, there is a risk that you may get infected more often.
If you experience difficulties emptying your bladder, it may increase the risk of getting a UTI. If the bladder is not emptied completely, it may lead to bacterial growth, which in turn may lead to an infection.
Postmenopausal women and pregnant women get infections more often than others. Menopausal or postmenopausal women are more often affected due to delicate mucous membranes and variations in the vaginal flora. The changes may lead to bacteria getting stuck more easily in the urinary tracts. In pregnant women, changes in the body may cause an increased sensibility to infections, which leads to a higher risk of attracting cystitis.
Urinary tract infections are caused by bacterial invasions in the urinary tract. Bacteria infect the urinary tract and spread to the bladder. The most common type of bacteria that causes infections in both men and women is E. Coli. In women, E. Coli is responsible for a larger part of infections than it is in men. Other bacteria causing cystitis are Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Klebsiella and Proteus bacteria. Enterobacter can also cause UTIs.