Urine Infections (I)- Common Reasons Women get them.
September 9, 2019
A urinary infection happens when germs enter the urinary tract.
They are also known as urinary tract infections (UTIs).
The urinary tract in a woman is different from that in the man.
This is an important cause for why urine infections happen in women to a greater extent than men.
The organs of the female urinary tract are in the abdomen (the area of the body directly under the chest); and the pelvis (the area of the body just above the legs).
From top-down, the organs are the Kidneys, the Ureters, the Bladder and the Urethra.
Learn more about the Kidneys here – but in brief:
Most people have 2 kidneys located in the mid-lower back area covered by the ribs.
It is possible to have a normal life with one kidney.
This can sometimes happen as a congenital defect (i.e. when a person has a medical abnormality from birth).
The Kidney is a hugely important organ.
One of its jobs is to filter materials that arrive in it from the bloodstream and create urine.
The Kidney also regulates blood pressure and rids the body of toxic
The ureters are 2 very slim tubes that connect the Kidneys to the Bladder.
This means they travel from the abdomen and into the pelvis.
Their job is to carry the urine from the kidneys into the bladder.
The Urinary Bladder is a small organ inside your pelvis.
In women, it sits just at the area above the juncture of the thighs and in front of the womb.
The bladder is a hollow (empty) muscular bag.
It’s main job is to receive urine from the kidneys through the ureters and hold it until full. After, urine is released outside the body through the urethra.
When the bladder is full, it sends a message to the brain creating the ‘urge’ that makes one need to use the toilet.
So up to this point, the organs of the Urinary tract have been the same in both men and women.
While both sexes have a urethra, the female urethra is shorter than the male.
In the female, the urethra runs directly from the bladder to open to the outside close to the vaginal opening. This also places the bladder opening close to the anus in ladies.
So how do urinary tract infections (UTIs) develop?
Once germs travel into the bladder (from the urethra), they will multiply. If this continues, they form large quantities that can travel upwards to infect the ureters and kidneys.
The term Lower Urinary Tract Infection is used to describe infections in the Urethra and Bladder; while Upper Urinary Tract Infection is used for infection in the Ureters and Kidneys.
Upper tract infections tend to be worse/more severe than lower tract infections.
Both usually require antibiotics for treatment – in the case of upper tract infections, intravenous antibiotics and hospital admission may be necessary.
Most of the urinary tract from ureter up to the kidneys is usually germ-free so how do germs enter into the bladder?
Some studies indicate a very small amount of germs naturally living in the bladder. Infection can happen when these start to increase and overgrow, overcoming our natural defences.
Thus the nature of the woman’s urethra (being a very short tube running from the bladder to the vulva where it opens) makes it easy for the germs to quickly travel into the bladder – compared to the male’s.
In the man, the urethra travels from the bladder into the penis before it opens outwards – and is a
Can sitting on the toilet cause urinary tract infections?
Theoretically – this is possible (explanation below); but not likely as the urethra is unlikely to be in contact with the toilet seat.
If the toilet seat surface is unclean with faecal matter containing germs, they could travel from the toilet seat to the woman’s skin (buttocks, vulva), and from there up through the urethra into the bladder.
However, the germs may not not survive long enough on the seats to manage this making this an unlikely way to develop an infection.
Learn more about toilet seats and what you can catch from them here.
These are some of the most common reasons women, in particular, are more likely to develop urine infections.
Avoiding these instances described above can greatly reduce the occurrence of the UTIs.
Editing By AskAwayHealth
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on a wide range of health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality health care. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified health care practitioner.
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