CAUSES OF URINE INFECTIONS IN WOMEN

Urine infection is a very common problem in our society. The importance of perform a proper treatment of urinary tract infection lies not only in relieving discomfort and reducing work-related absenteeism but also in reducing the risk of progression to kidney or blood-borne infection (urinary sepsis) or relapse and reinfections due to insufficient treatments or poor hygiene habits.

Most of the urinary infections are caused by a single germ, and the most frequent germ is Escherichia coli (70-95%), followed by Staphyloccus saprophyticus (5-10%), followed by other enterobacteria (Proteus mirabillisKlebsiella sp. etc.).

In most urinary tract infections, bacteria enter the bladder through the urethra from the genital area that has previously been colonized by uropathogenic intestinal bacteria (ex, by altering the vaginal flora through ingestion of antibiotics, spermicides, poor habits hygienic, friction during intercourse that causes bacteria to be drawn from the anal area, etc.). From the bladder they can ascend to the kidneys, producing a pyelonephritis.

The data are very clarifying since at least 40% of women will present a urine infection throughout their life, about 1 of 3 women will suffer at least 1 episode of urinary infection at age 24 and in adult women the incidence will depend on the age, sexual activity and contraceptive method used.

In young and pre-menopausal women, the risk factors for developing urinary tract infections are:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Use of spermicides
  • New sexual partner
  • Mother with history of urine infections
  • History of childhood urinary tract infections

In older and postmenopausal women, the risk factors are:

  • History of infections before menopause
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Vaginal atrophy due to estrogen deficiency
  • Presence of cystocele (bladder sagging)
  • Incomplete emptying of bladder after urination
  • Blood secreting antigen group (genetic predisposition factor)
  • Urinary catheterization
  • Cognitive impairment in institutionalized women

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