Top Causes of Urinary Tract Infections in Women

Posted on June 22, 2018


Most women will experience a urinary tract infection at some point in their lives. This sort of infection occurs when harmful microscopic organisms make their way to the urinary tract. There are a number of factors that can increase your risk of developing a UTI. Read on to learn more about the most common causes of urinary tract infections.


Due to anatomical factors, women have a much higher risk of getting a UTI than men do. Women have shorter urethras, which makes it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder and cause the infection. Additionally, the opening of the urethra is a lot closer to the rectum where bacteria that cause UTIs reside.

Health Problems

There are a few different chronic health conditions that can increase your risk of developing a UTI. Diabetes and other conditions that are associated with an impaired immune response can inhibit your body’s ability to fight off bacteria. Age-related conditions like Alzheimer’s can also increase the risk of UTIs, as they can inhibit a person’s personal hygiene. You may also be more likely to develop a UTI if you have a spinal cord injury, kidney stones, vesicoureteral reflux, bowel incontinence, or have recently used a urinary catheter. Talk to your doctor at the family medical centers in Suffolk County, NY, to learn more about which conditions can increase your risk of getting a urinary tract infection.

Sexual Activity and Birth Control

Sexual activity and birth control can also sometimes cause urinary tract infections in women. During sexual intercourse, bacteria can easily be transferred from the genitals and anus into the urethra, which causes the infection. For women, certain types of birth control like diaphragms and spermicide can also increase the chance of getting a UTI.


Personal Hygiene

Your personal hygiene can also play a role in your risk of urinary tract infections. For women, certain hygiene habits that can lead to UTIs include using douches or feminine hygiene sprays and powders, wiping back to front after going to the bathroom, and holding in your urine for a long period of time. Long periods of immobility, such as when recovering from an injury or illness, can also lead to UTIs.


Being pregnant can alter the urinary tract, making UTIs more frequent during pregnancy. The chances are especially high during week six through week 24 of the pregnancy. This is thought to be caused by the increase in size and weight of the uterus, which can prevent all of the urine from draining out of the bladder.


Those who have already gone through menopause also have a higher risk of getting a urinary tract infection. This is most likely because of the hormonal changes that accompany menopause. These changes can impact the good bacteria that ordinarily fight off the damaging microorganisms entering the urinary tract, which can make UTIs more common.

Contact us at Peconic Bay Medical Center to learn more about the causes of UTIs and what you can do to treat them.