Q: “It was a normal day, and I felt the need to urinate over and over. Still, each time I ‘went’, not much came out. I was also feeling very tired and the little urine that I produced burned and smelled really awful. My doctor said it was a UTI. How did I get a urine infection?”
This is a very common question that doctors get asked by their patients; men, women and children. In this guide, we will study different reasons for urine infections in men, women and children.
8 Ways in which women can get a urine infection
Urine infections are more common in women than in men. A UTI occurs when bacteria from urine gets into the urinary tract. Normal urine has no bacteria, but sometimes, unhygienic conditions, pre-existing medical reasons, pregnancy etc can all lead to UTIs in women.
Doctors have identified 8 common ways in which women can get a urine infection.
- Hygiene– Women often wipe from back (anus) to front (towards the vagina) after having a bowel movement. In the female body, the anus is situated rather close to the urethra. The E.coli bacteria (which are responsible for UTIs) are abundant near the anus from where they easily travel to the urethra leading to infections.
- Sexual activity– UTIs are more common in sexually active women. Frequently changing sex partners, not washing up after intercourse etc are few reasons to get a urine infection since the germs from the vagina often push back into the urethra.
- Drinking inadequate water- Another important reason for UTI in women is not drinking adequate quantities of water. When we drink more water, we tend to urinate frequently so that the urine is passed out of the body rather than being stored in the bladder where it has a greater risk of causing a UTI.
- Not urinating frequently– When one suppresses the urge to urinate frequently and holds the urine for long periods of time, then the risk of getting the infection increases. Women with kidney stones also tend to have blocked urine hence more frequent UTIs.
- Use of Contraceptives – Women using diaphragm for birth control have greater risk of trapping germs in their urinary tract. Similarly, woman whose sexual partners use spermicide coated condoms also triple their risk of getting UTIs.
- Douching and spraying– Douching with feminine hygiene sprays is one more way to get a urine infection.
- Loss of estrogen– Hormonal changes, changes in vagina or menopause that causes a dip in the estrogen levels are other reasons that could cause UTI in women.
- Pregnancy– In pregnant women, the chances of UTI go up considerably due to hormonal changes as well as the growing pressure of uterus on the bladder that prevents urine from emptying out completely.
Now let us see reasons why men could develop urine infections.
3 Causes of urine infection in men
Urine infections are not as common in men as in women. The common causes include:
- Kidney stones– Men with kidney stones cannot empty their bladder completely. The urine stays in the bladder for a long time leading to infections.
- Enlarged prostate– Similarly, enlarged prostate can also prevent the individual from emptying out his bladder.
- Other reasons– Men with poor immune systems, pre-existing medical conditions, those fitted with a catheter, having AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy tend to have greater risks of developing a urine infection.
6 Reasons for urine infection in children
Children can also get a urine infection due to different reasons such as:
- Wiping from back to front from the anus to the genital area. This is more common in girls.
- Congenital problems like Vesicoureteral Reflux can cause the urine to flow back into the ureters and kidneys. This is a common way in which young children get a urine infection.
- Not urinating frequently during the day.
- Wearing tight fitted underwear
- Bubble baths and douching in girls
- Certain injuries and diseases of the nervous system, brain or spinal cord (Myelomeningocele, hydrocephalus etc) prevent the child from emptying out the bladder frequently.
These are the different ways to get a urine infection in men, women and children.