Q: Why are UTIs more common in women? Can I treat them at home, or should I see my doctor?
A: Urinary tract infection (UTI) is the general term for an infection occurring anywhere in the urinary system. Most involve the bladder and the urethra but some can involve the ureters and even the kidneys themselves. UTIs occur when bacteria that are normally present on the skin or in the GI tract make their way into the urinary system. They are very common among women—about 50-60% of adult women have had at least one UTI. This frustrating fact has a simple anatomical explanation. In women, as compared to men, the bacteria that normally live in the pelvic region don’t have to travel as far in order to infect the bladder. Women have a much shorter urethra, and the urethra itself is much closer to the rectal opening—a frequent source of bacteria in UTIs. If it’s your first UTI, please make an appointment with your doctor to determine the best treatment. Almost all urinary tract infections can be treated effectively with oral antibiotics. Home treatments such as Aztreonam, herbal treatments, and/or cranberry juice can relieve symptoms, but the most effective treatment is antibiotics.
Matthew A. Roberts, DO, OB/GYN
Associates in Women’s Health
1829 Gunbarrel Road B-1
Chattanooga, TN 37421