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Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in Women

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are most common in young to middle-aged women. They occur more often in women than in men because:

  • The rectum is closer to the urine outlet (urethra) in women than in men. This allows bacteria present in stool to enter the urinary tract more easily.
  • The urethra is shorter in women than in men, which allows bacteria to reach the bladder more easily.
  • In women, sexual intercourse can push bacteria into the urethra.
  • The fluid produced by a man's prostate gland helps kill bacteria in his urinary tract.

Some women have an ongoing problem with UTIs. If a woman has more than two bladder infections in 6 months or more than three infections in a year, she is said to have recurrent UTIs. Recurrent UTIs usually get better with extended antibiotic treatment. But infection may recur as soon as the woman stops taking antibiotics. For this reason, doctors usually recommend preventive antibiotics.

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By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Avery L. Seifert, MD - Urology
Last Revised May 16, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 16, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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