Why Women are More Prone to Bladder Infections than Men
Bladder infections, or cystitis, can occur in both men and women, but it is much rarer in males than their female counterparts. In fact, bladder infections are so common in women that most will experience at least one in their lifetime.
Why is that? To understand the reason behind female proneness to bladder infections, you must first understand what it is, what causes it, and how.
What is a Bladder Infection?
Cystitis is an infection that occurs when bacteria finds its way into the bladder. Particularly, E. Coli. When caught early, they are not very serious. However, if ignored, they can grow exponentially worse, traveling to the kidneys where they can leave permanent damage when left untreated.
For women, sex can often be the culprit of this kind of infection because vaginal intercourse makes it easier for the bacteria to reach the bladder via the urethra. Risks are also increased by the use of spermicides, condoms, and the hormonal fluctuations caused by pregnancy.
Why are Women More Prone to Bladder Infections than Men?
The reason women are more likely to develop bladder infections than men comes down to basic anatomy. Female urethras are much shorter than male urethras. Approximately an inch and a half in length to be exact. This means the bacteria doesn’t have to travel nearly as far to reach the bladder.
Another risk enhancing attribute involves the location of the urethra. Located next to the vagina and anus, it is much easier for bacteria to travel from those two areas to the urethra.
Symptoms of a bladder infection include:
- A burning sensation or pain while urinating
- Feeling the need to urinate frequently, but little to no urine is released when you do
- Lower belly pain
- Cloudy or smelly urine
- Blood in your urine
- Pain in one side of the back just below your ribs (where your kidneys are located)
If you are experiencing these symptoms, you will want to make an appointment with your urologist.
How to Prevent Bladder Infections
The best way to prevent cystitis is to remain hydrated and urinate often. Always relieve yourself after engaging in sexual intercourse and maintain proper hygiene. For women who have already gone through menopause, it may be advantageous to use vaginal estrogen to help stave off these sort of infections as well.
Should you have any questions regarding bladder infections or urological health, you should contact your local urologist. Gulfshore Urology currently has several expert physicians on staff, as well as locations in Naples, Bonita Springs, and Marco Island.