Urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect more women than men. This is mainly because the female urethra is shorter than the male urethra, enabling bacteria to travel fast and easily to the bladder. Women also deal with more cases of UTI due to their lifestyle. As a woman, you need to be aware of this heightened risk and take appropriate measures to mitigate them. Here are four common causes of increased UTI risk in women:
UTIs are different from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in that they aren't spread via sexual intercourse. However, having sex (specifically penetrative sex) still increases your risk of getting an STI. The risk increases because the UTI-causing bacteria in your vagina can easily move to your urethra during sex, where they can cause a UTI. Mitigate this risk by peeing after sex; the urine will flush out most of the bacteria that could have caused a UTI.
Birth Control Methods
Any foreign body that gets into your urinary tract can introduce harmful germs into your body. This includes birth control methods that have to be physically inserted into your vagina. Classic examples here include diaphragms and condoms. Using alternative means of birth control would eliminate this risk, but if that isn't practical for you, just ensure they are absolutely clean before use.
Irritating Feminine Products
Feminine products, as long as they are clean, do not contain UTI-causing germs so they won't give you a UTI directly. However, irritating feminine products, such as powders and douches, can increase your risk of a UTI. This happens when the products irritate the tender lining of your urinary tract, making it easy for bacteria to enter your body. Therefore, stick to those products that have no reaction whatsoever on your body.
Lastly, you also need to worry about the fecal matter from your anal region getting into your vagina and (eventually) urethra. Fortunately, preventing this form of infection is as easy as wiping from the front to the back; this reduces the chances of bacteria from the anal region spreading to the vaginal area. In fact, this is something that should be taught to all young girls.
A UTI may not be a life-threatening disease that warrants a trip to the emergency room, but it is still a serious medical problem that requires prompt attention at an urgent care clinic. Apart from the pain and discomfort, delaying treatment may also lead to complications such as kidney damage.