Kudos! Along with periods, cramps, yeast infections, and a slew of other not-so-fun issues down there, you can add one more to the list. As much as we believe women and men are created equal, women come in first place when it comes to getting a urinary tract infection. Yay! (Insert sarcasm here.) Although urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most common kinds of infections for both genders, statistics show that women get UTIs up to 30x more often than men do. AND, as many as 4 in 10 women who get a UTI will get at least one more within six months.
Why do females get UTIs more often than men, you may ask? Well, this is simply because of the way the female anatomy was designed. The urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body) in females is shorter and closer to the anus, where E. coli bacteria exist. Men have a longer distance (we hope) from the tip of the penis to the anus. Sorry for using technical terms. Also, women's hormonal fluctuations across their menstrual cycle can increase their susceptibility to infection. Plus, women's hormonal fluctuations can increase their susceptibility to infection. But we promise there are ways to conquer this, and maybe you're one of the lucky ones that don't get them at all.
Some Women Are at a Greater Risk for a UTI
- Sexually active women. It's easy to move germs and bacteria around during sexy time. Tips for that are to use condoms and pee before and after sex to flush away any bacteria.
- Women that use diaphragms or condoms with spermicides. Spermicides can kill the "good" bacteria that protect you from UTIs.
- Women that are pregnant. Sorry, mamas. Pregnancy hormones can change the bacteria and pH levels in the urinary tract, making UTIs more likely. Also, many pregnant women have trouble completely emptying the bladder with a baby on top of the bladder. This makes it easier for leftover urine to sit longer and potentially grow bacteria that cause a UTI.
- Women that have gone through menopause. After menopause, the loss of estrogen causes the vaginal tissue to become thin and dry, making it easier for harmful bacteria to grow.
- Women with diabetes. Diabetes causes a lower immune system and may cause nerve damage that makes it hard to completely empty your bladder.
- Women that have or recently had a catheter in place. A catheter is a thin tube that goes into the urethra to the bladder. Catheters drain urine when you cannot pass urine on your own, such as during surgery.
- Women that use feminine products. Tampons, pads, or any kind of menstrual product can be a breeding ground for bacteria and increase the risk of a UTI. Change them often, ladies, and always practice good hygiene (wipe front to back.)
- Women that have family members with recurring UTIs. Unfortunately, there is evidence that shows it can be genetics.
If you fall into any of those categories, you may be at greater risk of getting UTIs. Talk to your doctor if they become recurring, as they may put you on a low dose of antibiotics to take after sex. We also suggest taking probiotics and special supplements created specifically for the urinary tract. Checkable's Urinary Tract Balance is designed as a cleanser to help balance the urinary tract while giving you the nutrients needed to promote a healthy bladder, including D-Mannose, Cranberry Juice Powder, Hibiscus, and natural Dandelion herb. You can also check out our guide to help prevent UTIs for more tips!