UTIs in the News, and It’s Not Good

Recently the New York Times reported on how antibiotics are becoming less effective at treating urinary tract infections (UTIs), which it calls “the single biggest risk to healthy people from drug-resistant germs.” It’s disconcerting to know that the frontline defense against UTIs is crumbling. When they don’t respond to treatment, UTIs can turn into serious conditions, like kidney infections. 

Let's avoid UTIs altogether. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

The piece made me think it’s a good time to revisit the topic of avoiding UTIs altogether. Because of the way we're built, with a short urethra in a warm, moist location close to our other orifices, our bodies lend themselves to bacterial growth. We are fifty times more likely to get UTIs than men until menopause, and twice as likely after (due to changes that happen in men as they age).

In addition, the loss of hormones that happens during menopause makes our genitourinary tissue more delicate and, thus, susceptible to infections. Because it helps bacteria migrate from one spot to another, even having sex can cause a UTI.

To reduce the chances of developing a UTI:

  • Drink plenty of fluids—enough so that your urine is the color of straw.
  • Urinate after sex. This will help flush bacteria out of your urethra. 
  • Talk to your doctor about a vaginal estrogen cream.
  • Practice good hygiene by wiping front to back and keeping your private parts extra clean.

When it comes to UTIs (and just about everything else), an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!


Dr. Barb DePree MD
Dr. Barb DePree MD

Author



2 Responses

Dr Barb
Dr Barb

August 08, 2019

Gary, thank you for your comment, we actually had a typo, that has been corrected. Instead of being five times more likely to get a UTI, it is actually fifty times more likely before menopause. After menopause the ratio drops to 2:1, as men wind up having surgical procedures on their prostate, or catheters, that more easily expose their urinary tracts to infection. (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/13/health/urinary-infections-drug-resistant.html)

Gary
Gary

August 06, 2019

“We are five times more likely to get UTIs than men until menopause, and twice as likely after (due to changes that happen in men as they age).”

Do you mean men are more likely to also get UTIs as they age? Or do you mean that women get fewer UTI’s because men have intercourse with them less often as they age because of ED, etc?

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