Why Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Are Most Common in Women and Seniors

Oct 02, 2023
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Many different things can put you at risk for recurrent UTIs, including gender and age. Let’s explore how certain factors can impact your UTI risk.

Urinary tract infections — also referred to as UTIs — are one of the most prevalent infections in the United States. In fact, research tells us that 8 million people seek medical care for UTIs each year, making it the second most common infection. 

When you have a UTI, it means there’s an infection in your urinary tract, which includes your bladder, kidneys, and urethra. While you can typically treat a UTI on your own at home, this specific infection can sometimes require more serious treatment like antibiotics.

UTIs can often be recurrent or chronic, meaning the infection continually comes back or doesn’t ever go away completely with common treatments. Due to several factors, those most at risk for these recurrent UTIs are women and older adults. 

At San Feliz Urgent Care located in Glendale, California, our team understands it can be frustrating to constantly have to deal with a UTI. So, we’ve put together this guide to help you know what’s putting you at risk and how to prevent UTIs from coming back.

Risk factors for recurrent UTIs

UTIs are the result of a bacterial infection. When bacteria enter your urinary tract through your urethra, they can start multiplying in your bladder. Both gender and age can significantly impact your risk for UTIs, and here’s why:

Gender and UTIs

Women are the most at risk for recurrent UTIs, mostly due to basic human anatomy. 

Women’s urethras are very close to their rectums, making it easy for bacteria from the rectum to enter the urethra, which is why females should wipe from front to back. In addition, women have a much shorter urethra which means bacteria doesn’t have to travel far to reach the bladder and begin multiplying. 

Use of vaginal douches, spermicides, and diaphragms also increases your risk of chronic UTIs.

Age and UTIs

Common health conditions that older adults can have, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, or diabetes, carry the risk of urinary retention or neurogenic bladder, which can lead to UTIs. Seniors may also be required to wear incontinence briefs, and if those aren’t changed regularly, infection can occur.

In addition, a prolapsed bladder, dementia, a history of UTIs, or the use of a catheter can all increase the risk of UTIs.

How to prevent recurrent UTIs

While it’s impossible to completely prevent the development of a UTI, here are some things you can do as a woman or senior adult to mitigate your risk:

  • Urinate right when you feel the urge
  • Always wipe front to back after urinating
  • Drink plenty of fluids to flush out bacteria
  • Avoid the use of vaginal douches and scented body washes
  • Try not to drink bladder irritants like coffee and alcohol

If you find yourself with a UTI that just won’t go away, come in and see our team so we can give you a proper diagnosis and necessary treatment. 

To schedule an appointment with our urgent care team, give us a call at 818-296-0201 or use our online booking tool today.