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Why Cystitis Is More Common In Women

Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder, often caused by a bacterial infection. It is a common condition amongst women, with mild cases generally clearing up in a few days.

The symptoms of cystitis include:

  • Pain during urination such as burning or stinging

  • A sudden, urgent need to urinate

  • Urinating small amounts frequently

  • Strong smelling urine that may also be dark or cloudy

  • Pain in the lower abdomen

  • Feeling generally ill

There are thought to be two reasons why women get cystitis more frequently than men.

1. Women have a shorter urethra

The first reason why women are more likely to get cystitis than men is that women have a shorter urethra. (The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder outside the body.) Because the urethra is shorter, the bacteria have less distance to travel to the bladder where they can cause an infection and inflammation.

Making sure you empty your bladder fully when you go to the toilet and as soon as possible after sex can help to flush out any bacteria that may have made their way into your urethra.

2. The urethra and anus are closer together

Secondly, the opening of the urethra and the anus are much closer together in women. This means bacteria are more likely to be transferred from the anus to the urethra. Combined with the shorter urethra, this makes it much easier for bacteria to cause an infection in women.

Bacteria are more likely to be spread if you wipe from back to front after going to the toilet, so make sure you wipe in the other direction to help prevent this.

What to do if you’re a man with symptoms of cystitis

Men get urinary tract infections (UTIs) much less frequently than women. If you are male and feel like you have the symptoms of cystitis listed above, you should get checked out by your doctor since your symptoms could be due to an underlying condition.