Causes of urinary tract infection: why does it affect women the most?

Urinary infections occur due to the invasion of microorganisms in the urinary tract, especially  Escherichia coli , responsible for up to 85% of cases. Factors of low immunity, poor hygiene, dysfunctions of the urinary system are some aspects that facilitate the entry of bacteria in the body.

Microorganisms can affect the urethra, bladder and even the kidneys, manifesting symptoms such as pain and burning.

Some situations, habits and conditions of the patient lead to infection, promoting the entry of bacteria into the urethra or causing them to settle more easily. Between them:


Little water intake

Water participates in several fundamental functions of the organism, helping in the functioning of the intestine, in hydrating the skin and transporting nutrients, for example.

When the liquid ingested is almost being eliminated as urine, it still plays an important role in the body, helping to clean the urethral canal and preventing bacteria from invading the body.

Therefore, the more liquids you drink, the more urine you will produce and, consequently, the greater the number of visits to the bathroom.

Hold urine

Urinating helps to clean the walls of the urethra, eliminating agents that can cause infections and reduce toxins in the body. Therefore, it is useless to drink enough water and not respect the wishes of the bladder.

When we go a long time without going to the bathroom, this cleaning process does not go as it should and bacteria are easier to migrate to the bladder or kidneys, for example.

Lack of hygiene

Especially for women, who have the entrance of the vagina very close to the anus, the lack of correct hygiene can be decisive for the development of urinary infections.

The intestine and anal area are full of microorganisms that, in general, do not cause diseases or changes as long as they remain in the correct place. That is, away from the urethra.

When there is a proliferation of bacteria due, for example, to poor hygiene, the proximity to the urethra causes contagion to be rapid and infections can settle more easily.

Intimate feminine hygiene products

It is also important to maintain care for situations that facilitate infection. Even if the baths are regular and attention is paid to hygiene, some common situations can trigger the infection. For example, the use of panty protectors or intimate hygiene products.

It may seem that using intimate soaps improves cleanliness and protects the body more, but it is important to note that they can affect the intimate pH and cause deregulation, especially if they are used very often.

Using vaginal soaps, in itself, does not cause a urinary tract infection , but it can eliminate the good bacteria, necessary for the natural protection of the region.

Without immunity, other infectious bacteria are easier to invade the body.

In the case of intimate protectors, the logic is similar: constant use can prevent the vulva and vagina from breathing properly. With the muffling of the place, it becomes easier for infectious agents to proliferate, especially if there is humidity.

Delay in changing tampons

The ideal is to do a regular change of absorbents – whether intimate or not -, maintaining a maximum average use of 4 hours. Both common absorbents (for external use) and internal ones can be great sources of bacterial proliferation.

Menstrual collectors, although generally less irritating, reducing the risk of developing colonies of bacteria, must be washed properly with each emptying.

Predisposition to urinary tract infection

Anyone who has close relatives (mother, father or siblings) who suffer from urinary tract infections should be aware of the organism itself, as hereditary factors may be among the causes of the infection.

The structure of the urinary canal can also be decisive in facilitating infections. In general, patients with recurrent urinary tract infections may experience functional or structural changes, which is one of the causes.

Why is urinary tract infection more frequent in women?

Among women, the subject is much more common – and experienced – than among men. On average, 50% of women have suffered or will suffer from at least 1 urinary tract infection during their lifetime. Among men, the rate drops to just 10%.

The intensity or frequency of infections can vary widely between women, but there is a determining factor for bacteria to more easily affect the female body: anatomy.

The anus and the entrance of the vagina are very close regions, favoring that the bacteria migrate more easily to the vaginal region. In many cases, they are microorganisms that normally live in the intestine or skin, but that enter and improperly occupy the urinary system.

The urethra – the channel that eliminates urine – is much shorter in women than in men – about 3 times smaller -, making the bacteria have a faster way to the bladder, facilitating infections.

In addition, hormonal changes resulting from menstrual cycles and menopause , reduced immunity and changes in the pelvis region, which occur in pregnant women, help to justify the higher rates of urinary tract infection among women.