Four common urological conditions affecting women are:
1. Urinary tract infection
2. Overactive bladder
3. Stress urinary incontinence
4. Blood in the urine
What are the main factors that cause these conditions?
1. Urinary tract infections in women are usually caused by bacteria that enter the bladder. UTIs are not uncommon in young sexually active women, as the bacteria may enter the bladder during sexual intercourse. Women who have reached menopause are also at higher risk of urinary tract infections because the lack of oestrogen leads to skin changes around the urethra. There are other medical conditions that increase the risk of UTIs such as urinary stones, diabetes mellitus and patients with urinary catheters.
2. Overactive bladder is caused by excessive bladder contractions , usually in patients who are otherwise healthy and without disease. Patients find it difficult to postpone urination and tend to rush to the toilet once they have a urge to urinate. If they do not reach the toilet in time, they may leak urine (urge urinary incontinence). Occasionally, the symptoms of overactive bladder may be due to medical problems such as urinary tract infection, bladder stones and diseases of the brain and spinal cord.
3. Stress urinary incontinence in women is usually caused by a weakened pelvic floor as a result of childbirth. Women who have this condition may leak urine when coughing, sneezing or exerting themselves.
4. Sometimes, routine health screening tests may pick up traces of blood in the urine. This may not due to anything serious, but in a small proportion of women it may be a sign of a serious health problem affecting the urinary tract, such as urinary stones, urinary tract infection, urinary tract cancer and kidney inflammation.