The urinary tract is the combination of bladder and urethra. However, a urinary tract infection or UTI is an infection in the kidneys, ureters, urethra, or bladder, which collectively form the urinary system. As compared to men, women are at a greater risk of getting UTI. While UTI in the bladder is very painful, the consequences can be much more damaging if it spreads to the kidneys. Read on to know the risk factors for UTI.
- Holding in urine
Not going to the washroom when you feel the urge is one of the most common risk factors for UTI. It is a common risk factor for everyone, and even not emptying the bladder is a major risk factor. This is because holding in urine results in a buildup of bad bacteria in the bladder, causing an infection.
- Illnesses like kidney stones and diabetes
While kidney stones obstruct the urinary tract, obstructing the normal flow of urine, diabetes increases the sugar content in urine. Diabetes is also known to suppress the immune system, resulting in increased bacteria. If one is suffering from diabetes or kidney stones, care must be taken to minimize the risk of urinary tract infection.
- Recent use of a catheter
Due to medical reasons, some people cannot urinate on their own and have to use a catheter or a small tube to urinate. This increases the risk of UTI due to the infection being carried by the catheter. This happens with people who are paralyzed and cannot perform normal body functions. Some internal problems may also make it difficult for people to control their urge to urinate, making them use a catheter.
- Being sexually active
This is more often a risk factor for women than for men. Bacteria responsible for causing UTI is situated in the area surrounding the anus. Sexual activity pushes the bacteria in front, and from there, it travels to the urethra and eventually to the bladder.
This is also a risk factor in women, as the process leads to certain changes in the urinary tract. Thus, emptying the bladder becomes a little more difficult than normal. Additionally, hormones generated during pregnancy change the chemical structure of urine, encouraging the growth of bad bacteria.
Urinary tract infection is more common among men above 50 years of age. Thus, men over 50 years of age need to ensure hygiene and take proper precautions against UTI.