What causes a UTI?
The most common causes of UTI infections (about 80%) are Escherichia coli (e. coli) bacterial strains that usually inhabit the colon. However, many other bacteria can occasionally cause an infection (for example, Klebsiella, Pseudomonas, Enterobacter, Proteus, Staphylococcus, Mycoplasma, Chlamydia, Serratia and Neisseria spp) but are far less frequent causes than E. coli. In addition, fungi (Candida and Cryptococcus spp) and some parasites (Trichomonas, Schistosoma) also may cause UTIs; Schistosoma causes other problems, with bladder infections as only a part of its complicated infectious process. In the U.S., most infections are due to Gram-negative bacteria with E. coli causing the majority of infections.
Who is at special risk?
- Women or girls who do not practice proper toilet hygiene.
- Pregnant women.
- People with a congenital deformity in the urinary system.
- Men with an enlarged prostate.
- People using a catheter.
- Young people having unprotected sexual intercourse.
“…UTIs may occur in infants, both boys and girls, who are born with abnormalities of the urinary tract, which sometimes need to be corrected with surgery. UTIs are more rare in boys and young men. In adult women, though, the rate of UTIs gradually increases with age. Scientists are not sure why women have more urinary infections than men. One factor may be that a woman’s urethra is short, allowing bacteria quick access to the bladder. Also, a woman’s urethral opening is near sources of bacteria from the anus and vagina. For many women, sexual intercourse seems to trigger an infection, although the reasons for this linkage are unclear…”
Those who advocate circumcision as a prophylaxis against U.T.I.’s usually cite research conducted by Wiswell et. al. (1986), in a United States Army Hospital on 400,000 infants. They reported a tenfold increase in the incidence of U.T.I.’s among uncircumcised boys. That sounds significant until you look carefully at the numbers and the methodology. The increase was from 0.11 percent to 1.12 percent. Therefore, the risk for uncircumcised boys is one in one hundred. The study also included female infants, who had a higher U.T.I. rate than the corresponding males. Furthermore, Wiswell had advised parents to gently retract the babies’ foreskins in order to clean the glans, an action that is unnecessary, potentially irritating and a way to introduce bacteria to the site (Wallerstein, 1986). The study also did not control for those babies that were being breastfed. The protective bacteria ingested by a baby from its mother’s milk may well have a significant prophylactic effect on the potentially pathological bacteria found in some of the infants. In European countries, in the rare instances when U.T.I.’s do develop, they are usually amenable to medical treatment and do not require surgery.
In regards to UTI’s, did you know that studies about UTI’s and circumcision are flawed, in favor of circumcising? Two recent studies show circumcision INCREASES UTI’s.
“Because long term outcome of UTI in uncircumcised males is unknown, it is inappropriate at this time to recommend circumcision as a routine medically indicated procedure.”
If you have a daughter, what parts of her genitals would you have the doctor remove? Given that girls get UTI’s at approximately five times the rate that boys do, this is a fair question to ask. Boys don’t have disposable genital parts any more than girls do. All of the parts of the penis are highly sensitive and necessary to normal sexual functioning, just as in girls.