You are not imagining things—some people get urinary tract infections (UTIs) quite frequently while others never or rarely experience that awful pain down there. The question is “Why?” and we have the answers.
Women who are sexually active may be more prone to UTIs. However, we wanted to go beyond sexual activity and explore some other common reasons why certain people may be more likely than others to get urinary infections.
Here are three of the most common factors that put people at greater risk for UTIs:
Men over 50 and women who have gone through menopause are at greater risk for UTIs, even if they have never had one before. In men, the infection is usually the result of an obstruction in the urinary tract. This obstruction is often due to an enlarged prostate gland pressing on the urethra, causing urine to pool rather than pass, which in turn can cause infection.
In postmenopausal women, low levels of estrogen enable more bacteria to grow. The hormone promotes production of natural antimicrobial substances in the bladder and also makes it harder for bacteria to penetrate the deeper layers of the bladder wall by closing gaps between cells lining the bladder. When women lose estrogen as they age, they do not receive these beneficial effects and so are more likely to experience UTIs. Recent research suggests vaginal estrogen treatment may help prevent UTIs in postmenopausal women.
In both elderly men and women, weakening muscles around the bladder are also a problem. As urinary system muscles weaken with age, they become less able to force urine out, causing pooling in the bladder, which increases the chance of infection.
What do nurses, teachers and delivery drivers have in common? They tend not to have a lot of opportunity to use the bathroom in the course of a day. Construction workers, surgeons, long-haul truck drivers and anyone who works long shifts where they’re not necessarily near a bathroom or easily able to get away has a higher risk of getting a urinary infection. When you hold your urine for long periods of time, the pooling urine allows more bacteria to grow.
If your job leaves little opportunity for breaks during your shift, talk to coworkers and management about covering for each other or finding some way to allow short bathroom breaks in your schedule.
Chronic health conditions
Many health conditions can increase a person’s risk for developing a UTI. Diabetes is one. People with diabetes tend to have more frequent and more severe UTIs, and the infections can be more difficult to treat than in other people. Diabetes can also cause sensory and neurological issues that make it harder for the bladder to drain and harder for the patient to realize their bladder is full. Both issues can result in pooling of urine, which, as mentioned above, can lead to increased bacteria growth and infection. Similar issues can occur in people with neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), spinal cord paralysis, dementia, cerebral palsy and others.
What to do when you get a UTI
If you have had a UTI, you know they can be painful. To help with that pain, try Uristat® Pain Relief Tablets . If you have kidney problems or diabetes, talk to your doctor first to make sure this pain reliever is safe for you. If you suspect you have a UTI, talk to your doctor to find ways to treat the infection and prevent it from recurring. You can also read more on our site about UTI prevention and treatment.