UTIs More Common in Women, More Severe in Men

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Even though women are more likely to acquire urinary tract infections, men are much more likely to need to be hospitalized for treatment, a new study published in the World Journal of Urology says.

Urinary tract infection, or UTI, is the second most common kind of bacterial infection. The researchers examined data from about 10.8 million patients diagnosed with bladder and kidney infections who were seen in American emergency rooms from 2006 to 2009. Of those people, almost 17% were admitted to the hospital for treatment and men were 1.58 times more likely than women to be admitted. Hospitalizations for UTIs occurred more often at urban teaching hospitals and in zip codes with higher average incomes. The cost of treating a UTI is about ten times higher if hospitalization is required.

Of the millions of outpatient visits for UTIs in 2007, 84% were made by women. According to researchers, half of women report having had at least one UTI by the age of 32. The incidence of emergency room visits for UTI was highest among the elderly for both men and women, but there was also a peak among women ages 15 to 25, which is likely attributable to initiation of sexual activity.

The researchers also noted a significant increase in the number of emergency department visits for UTI compared to the decade prior. Researchers suggest that this may be due in part to an aging population, the rise in diseases such as diabetes and other chronic illnesses that may predispose people to infection, and increased antibiotic resistance.