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UTIs are more common among women than men.

Urinary tract infections explained

Q: Please explain urinary tract infections. Why do women get them so often?

"A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is a general term for a bacterial infection occurring somewhere in the urinary system between the kidneys and urethra – usually the bladder. UTIs are rather common among women," says Benjamin Dillon, M.D., a board-certified Urology specialist at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. "The most common symptom is a burning sensation when urinating. Other telltale symptoms can include discolored or foul-smelling urine, lower abdominal discomfort and urinary frequency. In the early stages, however, symptoms may be subtle and go unnoticed."


"UTIs are more common among women than men. This may be because women have shorter urethras making it easier for bacteria to move up their urinary tracts and cause infections," Dr. Dillon says.

He says common causes among women include:

  • ​Improper hygiene.
  • Diabetes.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Blockage in the urinary tract.


Diagnosis and treatment

Dr. Dillon says diagnosis usually includes a urinalysis or urine culture to identify the type of bacteria present.

"If a bacterium is detected, it is usually cleared up with prescription antibiotics," he assures.

He says women have used unsweetened cranberry juice to prevent UTIs, but cautions there isn't enough scientific evidence to prove the effectiveness.

"If you believe you have a UTI, have a medical exam and get the proper treatment. Untreated, UTIs could turn into more serious health complications," concludes Dr. Dillon.

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Benjamin Dillon, MD

​I believe that although many of my patients have similar conditions, treating each patient requires an individual approach. By working with my patients, together, we can develop treatment options that will help improve their overall quality of life.