Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the second most common type of infection in the body and are the reason for more than 8 million doctor visits each year in the U.S. For Sexual Health Week, we want to empower doctors and their patients to learn more about UTI testing and education as UTIs increase when patients are more sexually active. First, let’s break down how the infection affects women and men differently.
UTIs in Women
Women at any age are at higher risk of developing a UTI than men, mainly due to the female lower urinary tract anatomy and its proximity to the reproductive organs. Sexual activity as well as excessive use of intimate hygiene products are often to blame, but according to the National Library of Medicine, the highest prevalence of UTIs are in pregnant and postmenopausal patients. It is estimated that every other woman will have had at least one UTI during their lifetime with some women even having recurrent UTIs.
UTIs in Men
For men, UTIs are rare but can become more common with older age – One reason being that older males are more likely to have an enlarged prostate, compressing the bladder neck and making it harder for urine to flow freely. If the bladder does not empty completely, bacteria normally flushed out with the urine can cause a UTI. In younger men, UTI cases are typically caused by sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Diagnosing UTIs with MDGeneticPro UTI
A urine culture has been a valuable method in diagnosing UTIs, but the time it takes to identify a specific bacteria delays patients’ relief and puts them at risk of developing a more serious problem like kidney infections. The wait time could also aid in antimicrobial resistance as patients are given antibiotics before receiving their results. The hope is to treat their discomfort, but the infection could grow resistant before knowing what type of bacteria needs to be treated. With MDGeneticPro UTI, we can help you give patients relief right away. With just one swab, our advanced testing identifies 33 common pathogens, the presence of polymicrobial infections, as well as resistance/sensitivity to different antibiotics all within 24 to 48 hours. Get a more accurate diagnosis and the most effective treatment options with MDGeneticPro UTI.
Tips For Patients to Prevent UTIs
As common as UTIs are, especially for women, it’s important patients know it’s possible to minimize the risk of getting one. Here are some tips that can help them sidestep a UTI:
- Drink plenty of fluids
The simplest way to prevent a UTI is to flush bacteria out of the bladder and urinary tract before it can set in.
- Avoid holding your pee
Holding your urine can encourage bacterial growth. Don’t wait more than 4 hours to go to the bathroom. This is particularly important for pregnant women.
- Urinate before and after sexual activity
Sexual activity increases the chances of getting a UTI, especially in women. Bacteria can easily get into the urethra during sex.
- Wipe front to back
Doing so after urinating and after a bowel movement helps prevent bacteria in the rectum from spreading to the vagina and urethra.
- Avoid scented products
Scented feminine products can disrupt the pH balance of a woman’s vagina, allowing harmful bacteria to overgrow.
- Take probiotics
This can increase good bacteria to help protect people from UTIs.
- Consume cranberries or cranberry supplements
Cranberries are a typical home remedy because it has compounds called proanthocyanidins, known to prevent E.coli from adhering to tissues in the urinary tract.
Though it’s not clear if cranberries can prevent UTIs, it’s a low-risk remedy.
- Take showers instead of baths
If possible, take showers instead of baths. Sitting in dirty tub water is known to increase the risk of getting a UTI.