Kathmandu, January 4

Women are more prone to urinary tract infection compared to men mainly due to female anatomy, sexual activity and perimenopause and post- menopause stages of women, according to doctors.

UTI occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder.

As per a cross-sectional study carried out in Kathmandu Medical College Teaching Hospital, Duwakot, by Dr Bineeta Pradhan, senior registrar, Department of Emergency Medicine, Kathmandu Medical College, and Prof Dr Sailesh Pradhan, head of the Department of Pathology at Kathmandu Medical College from January 2015 to December 2016, from among 1,735 clinically suspected UTI cases, 239 samples tested positive for urine culture sensitivity. Of the 239 samples 59 were of men and 180 were of women.

Similarly, yet another research carried out by Laxmi Kant Khanal, assistant professor, Department of Microbiology, Nepal Medical College, shows that women are at high risk of UTI. For the research, 3,123 urine specimens were sent to clinical microbiology laboratory of Nepal Medical College Teaching Hospital from 1 May 2014 to 30 April 2015. From among all the specimens, 804 were of male patients and 2,319 were of females. Of the total samples of males, only 128 (15.9 per cent) were culture positive, whereas, 1,506 females patients (64.9 per cent) were culture positive.

The study also revealed that most of the men suffering from UTI were between the age of 61 and 80, and women ranging from 21-40 years of age had UTI. “Women are more prone to urine infection as they have a shorter urethra making it easy for bacteria to reach the urinary bladder,” said Prof Dr Pradhan.

“There is closer proximity of the genitals and urethra in females, which causes the bacteria to pass into the urethra. Escherichia Coli is found in faeces. The bacteria can easily pass from stool,” added Dr Pradhan.

There are small glands in urethra where there are bacteria. When the glands are squeezed during a sexual intercourse there are chances of bacteria entering the bladder. The bacteria in the urethra also become active during/after sexual contact. Sexually active women are prone to infection,” said Dr Uttam Kumar Sharma, urologist and kidney transplant surgeon at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital. “During the perimenopause  and postmenopause stage, a decline in estrogen hormone causes changes in urinary tract which makes women susceptible to infection,” added Dr Sharma.

A blockage in urinary tract, infection of the bladder (cystitis) and an infection of the urethra are also some of the causes of UTI.

UTI can also occur because of anatomical variation such as congenital defects. One needs to scan if there are any such issues,” advised Dr Sharma.

“Though a large number of women suffer from UTI many of them go to gynaecologists thinking that it is an issue related to gynaecology,” said Dr Sharma.

If anyone shows symptoms such as strong, persistent urge to urinate, or burning sensation when urinating, passing frequent, small amounts of urine, urine that appears cloudy, then one should visit a urologist, the doctors said.

Women experience such infection more than once during their lifetime. It is recurrent in them, the doctors said.

“Most of the causes of UTI is Escherichia coli. The women, therefore, must maintain their personal hygiene. They must clean their genitals. If personal hygiene is not maintained there are chances for recurrence. The antibiotics dose must be completed,” said Dr Pradhan.

Have sexual relations only after emptying urinary bladder (urination) and after sexual intercourse, it is better to clean private parts to avoid infection, suggested Dr Sharma.