Why Do Women Get More Urinary Tract Infections Than Men?

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Technically, women have roughly the same immunology as men, and yet they seem to be more prone to getting bladder infections. It is not due to women’s lack of immunological competence, but due to their anatomy that women get more bladder infections than men.

Let’s take a look at the anatomy of a bladder infection. Bladder infections occur when bacteria, usually from stool around the anus, get up inside the urethra. If not flushed out with frequent urination, the bacteria adhere to the bladder wall and cause infection of the bladder. The bacteria, in some cases, can get flushed up into the kidneys and therefore can cause a kidney infection. Both kidney and bladder infections are more common in women.

In part, this is due to the much shorter urethra in women, which makes a shorter path for the bacteria to travel to get to the bladder. A woman’s urethra is an inch long or less, while a man’s urethra is 7.5 inches long or more, traveling up the penis and into the pelvis. Women also have the danger of wiping bowel contents up onto the urethra when urinating and defecating. This means that a woman should always wipe from front to back so as to keep the bacteria away from the shorter urethra.

The urethra is also very near the vaginal wall and so women are more likely to get urinary tract infections from the sex act. When there is penile thrusting, bacteria get up into the urethra and unless they are flushed out completely by voiding after intercourse, there is an increased risk of getting a bladder infection after sex. Women who have sex with men who use condoms impregnated with a spermicidal substance have an increased risk of getting bladder infections.

Women who are post-menopausal can get bladder infections more frequently because the lack of estrogen in the system causes a drying out and lack of protection from the tissue surrounding the urethra. Both the bladder and the urethral opening are dried out and do not protect the urethra from getting bacteria pushed up into it. This is an easy fix, however, and women can take estrogen cream by means of an applicator and push the vaginal cream into the vagina. It is recommended that women do this every day for a week or so and then do it 2-3 times per week after that. This thickens the vaginal mucosa and the lining of the urethra so that they are more protected against bacteria and makes for healthier tissue.

The only time men begin to have as many bladder and kidney infections as women do is in the 60s or later in their life. This is when men begin to have enlarged prostates and prostatic cancer. Because the urethra passes through the prostate on its way out of the bladder, it can become constricted with an enlarged prostate and bacterial infections of the prostate are more common. The bladder doesn’t flush out bacteria well enough because it doesn’t empty completely. A PSA test or a digital rectal exam can confirm if this is the case.

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Source by Pamella Neely

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