Predominant Risk Factors for First Urinary Tract Infections in College-aged Women

Increased sexual activity and alcohol consumption were associated with an increased risk of developing urinary tract infections (UTIs), and college-aged women experiencing urinary frequency or urgency should seek medical care to treat what may be their first urinary tract infection (UTI), according to new research presented at the 104th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA).

From July 2001 through April 2005, researchers studied 181 women with their first UTI who presented to the student health care facility at the University of Florida. The control group consisted of 80 women attending the clinic without a UTI. A clinic nurse administered a survey that addressed lifestyle habits and dietary intake. Results showed that frequency and urgency were the most common symptom, and that UTIs were most commonly found in women who had increased sexual activity and recent alcohol consumption. The use of sanitary napkins during menstruation also increased the risk for a first-time UTI. Hesitating to urinate, direction of wiping and the use of tampons did not appear to correlate with increased UTI risk. Co-existing chlamydia, gonorrhea and yeast infections did not contribute significantly to urinary symptoms.

“If you are experiencing urinary frequency and urgency, you should seek medical attention,” said Anthony Y. Smith, MD, an AUA spokesman.

“A woman experiencing her first UTI might not recognize these symptoms immediately. But, medical attention is necessary because UTIs can lead to kidney infection and even sepsis. So, it is important for women who notice these symptoms to seek medical attention.”

NOTE TO REPORTERS: Experts are available to discuss this study outside normal briefing times.

Vincent, C; Brown, M; Reyes, L; Canales, B; Mullers, K; Vincent, V; Li, Q; Thomas, T. Symptoms and risk factors associated with first UTI in college-aged women: a prospective cohort study. J Urol, suppl. 2009: 181, 4, abstract 396

About the American Urological Association: Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is the pre-eminent professional organization for urologists, with more than 16,000 members throughout the world. An educational nonprofit organization, the AUA pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care by carrying out a wide variety of programs for members and their patients.

Source: American Urological Association (AUA)

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