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Risk Factors for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
A risk factor makes the chances of getting a disease or condition higher. You can have a UTI with or without any of those listed below. But the more risks you have, the higher the chances of a UTI.
Talk to your doctor about the steps you need to take to lower your risk.
Being Sexually Active
Having sex makes your risk higher. Also, your chances are higher for having a new partner within the past year.
Your risk is higher if you have certain health problems such as:
- Structural issues in the urinary system
- Urine flows backwards from the bladder—vesicoureteral reflux
- Weak immune system
- Kidney stones
- Enlarged prostate gland
- Paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Prior kidney transplant
- Sickle cell disease
- Nervous system diseases that make it harder to fully drain the bladder
Medical Devices and Procedures
Your risk is higher for these:
- Females who use a diaphragm for birth control
- Females who have a partners who use spermicide on a condom
- Having a urinary catheter
- Prior surgery on the urinary tract
Taking certain medicines can raise the risk of getting a UTI such as:
- SGLT2 inhibitors for diabetes
Age and Gender
UTIs are more common in women during their lives. This is because the urethra and anus are close together. The urethra is also shorter in women than in men. The risk of goes up even more after menopause in women and after age 50 in men.
UTIs tend to run in families. If you have people in your family with the same problems, it makes your risk higher. The link is more common in first-degree relatives such as a mother and daughter.
Bacterial urinary tract infections (UTIs). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/urinary-tract-infections-utis/bacterial-urinary-tract-infections-utis. Updated June 2018. Accessed September 20, 2018.
FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA revises labels of SGLT2 inhibitors for diabetes to include warnings about too much acid in the blood and serious urinary tract infections. US Food & Drug Administration website. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm475463.htm. Updated January 19, 2018. Accessed September 20, 2018.
Uncomplicated urinary tract infection (UTI) (pyelonephritis and cystitis). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116894/Uncomplicated-urinary-tract-infection-UTI-pyelonephritis-and-cystitis. Updated June 4, 2018. Accessed September 20, 2018.
Urinary tract infections in adults. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/urinary-tract-infections-in-adults. Accessed September 20, 2018.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
- Review Date: 09/2018
- Update Date: 09/20/2018