It seems to be a common misconception that women are the only ones affected by UTIs. But we are here to tell you that bacteria knows no gender, no age, no species. In fact, women, men, children, seniors, and even animals can get and probably will get a urinary tract infection at some point in their lives. Yes, even your furry four-legged friends can get one. Approximately 8-10 million people are treated for urinary tract infections annually, making it one of the most common bacterial infections. Older adults also are at a higher risk for developing UTIs as well as those with diabetes. But whichever gender you identify with or age you are, UTIs are treatable and preventable, even for your pup. With just a few tips and lifestyle changes, you can say bye-bye to the UTI for good.
A UTI (urinary tract infection) is a bacterial infection of the urinary system, consisting of the urethra, ureters, the bladder, and the kidneys. An infection occurs when bacteria (usually E. coli) gets into the urinary tract and multiply. Normally, urine moves through the urinary system without any contamination because our kidneys work as a filtration system to keep the germs out. However, bacteria can get into the urinary system from outside sources, causing infection and inflammation. Symptoms are similar for men and women, however diagnosing a UTI in small children can be tricky since it is hard for them to express themselves.
UTIs in Women
Although anyone can get a UTI, women do get them up to 30x more often than men due to our anatomy. The urethra in females is shorter and closer to the anus, where E. coli bacteria may linger. In fact, studies show that 1 out of 5 women will have a UTI at least once, some may get them chronically. If you’re one that gets them frequently, your doctor may prescribe a low dose of antibiotics to take after intercourse.
UTIs in Men
UTIs can occur in men of any age. In younger men, the most common cause of a UTI is a sexually transmitted disease. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two STDs that can cause a UTI. Wearing condoms should do the trick. In older men, UTIs can occur from an enlarged prostate which can block the flow of urine and cause bacteria to build up. There also could be an infection in the prostate, which shares many of the same symptoms as a UTI. Men with diabetes or any medical issue affecting the immune system can also make them more likely to get a UTI. Treatment for a UTI in men is the same for both genders. Antibiotics are usually prescribed to kill the bad bacteria. However, in men, the real issue could be the prostate. That is why men should always check with their doctor at the first sign of a UTI.
UTIs in Children
It’s no fun to get a UTI, especially for children. Up to 8% of girls and 2% of boys will get a UTI by age 5. UTIs are not common in children younger than age 5. They tend to occur more in girls than boys because they have a shorter urethra than males. Uncircumcised boys are more at risk for a UTI than circumcised boys because it is easier for bacteria to get trapped under the foreskin and block the urinary tract. Most UTIs in children are caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria that enters the digestive tract gets into the urinary tract. This is mostly from not wiping properly after they go number 2 or if poop gets on their hands while wiping. Yup, that's pretty easy to do when you're a kid. To help prevent UTIs in children, go over the importance of wiping front to back and washing their hands after going potty. Symptoms of a UTI in kids can be similar to adults, but if young, look for extreme fussiness, loss of appetite, and lower tummy aches.
Tips to Prevent UTIs (Men, Women, & Children)
- Everyone: Drink tons of water to flush out the bacteria.
- Women: Pee before and after sex. Again, this flushes the bacteria through the urine.
- Men & Women: Use condoms.
- Men & Women: Use water-based lube and avoid oil-based lubes during sexy time.
- Everyone: Wipe your tush front to back. This applies to both genders of all ages. You’d be surprised at how many people don't do this, not just kids.
- Everyone: Don’t hold in your pee, this can cause old urine to stay in bladder and develop bacteria if bladder is not fully emptied.
- Adults: Take urinary tract supplements. If you are prone to recurrent UTIs, these can be your best friend. Evidence shows that D-mannose and cranberry powder help prevent bacteria from sticking to your vaginal parts. Checkable Urinary Tract Balance provides all of the nutrients needed to keep UTIs away.
It's super important to recognize the signs of a UTI so that you or your child can get treated properly. If left untreated for too long, a regular UTI can develop into a more severe kidney or bladder infection. But if diagnosed quickly, a doctor will typically prescribe antibiotics that will cure the infection and help everyone feel better in just a few days. Promise.