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 nearness 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 bladder.
  • 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.

Last Updated: June 8, 2009

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.