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December 19, 2000

Other Illnesses

Question from Cleveland, Mississippi, USA:

This patient has been treated twice within the last eight weeks for a urinary tract infection (UTI). Why do older women get frequent UTIs?

Answer:

The urethral opening in a woman is maintained by estrogen, to some degree. With the menopause, the lack of estrogen and the short distance from the urethral opening to the bladder allows for bacteria to traverse this area and cause infection. In addition, there can be anatomic changes after pregnancy that are exaggerated with time which lead to more urinary tract infections. I would suggest discussing this problem with a physician to see if there are any problems to treat in a way which would prevent future urinary tract infections.

JTL

[Editor’s comment: Dr. Lane’s comments apply to both women with diabetes, and to those without it.

WWQ]