Risk factors for Urinary Tract Infection

Sexual Behavior – Recent or frequent sexual activity is a risk factor for urinary tract infection, as it increases the likelihood that e.coli will enter the urethra. Nearly 80% of all urinary tract infections in premenopausal women occur within 24 hours of intercourse. The use of spermicidal contraceptives also increases the risk of UTI.2

Menopause – Menopause results in decreased levels of estrogen.  This can lead to thinning of the walls of the urethra and urinary bladder, making the urinary tract less able to resist bacterial infection.2  Older women may also have problems with urinary incontinence, which increases the risk for UTI.

Allergies  – Women who are sensitive to the dyes and perfumes of products used in the vaginal area may develop irritation of the skin and lining of the vagina. This can lead to breaks in the skin that can serve as an entry point for bacteria.

Recent antibiotic use – The use of antibiotics for other infections can lead to an imbalance in the bacteria in the colon, resulting in higher numbers of e.coli and an increased risk of infection

The risk factors for a complicated urinary tract infection have already been briefly described; these include diabetes, pregnancy, history of kidney stones, urinary catheters and a compromised immune system, seen in such conditions as cancer and sickle cell anemia.