Some kinds of urological problems cross gender lines – kidney stones
and urinary tract infections
, for example, can affect both women and men. But women can experience certain problems differently and, in some cases, more frequently.
For example, women experience urological incontinence (UI)
– the involuntary loss of urine control – about twice as often as men. Pregnancy and childbirth, menopause, and the structure of the female urinary tract account for this difference.
Older women experience UI more often than younger women, although incontinence is not inevitable with age. At the same time, both women and men can become incontinent from neurologic injury, birth defects, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and physical problems associated with aging.
Women are especially prone to urinary tract infections (UTI)
for reasons that are not yet well understood. One woman in five develops a UTI during her lifetime.
Pregnant women seem no more prone to UTIs than other women. However, when a UTI does occur in a pregnant woman, it is more likely to travel to the kidneys. UTIs in men are not as common as in women but can be very serious when they do occur.
In addition, medical treatments for urological problems in women can be quite different. For instance, there are vaginal devices designed to treat female incontinence, and some surgeries for incontinence are specifically for women.
To learn more about female urological conditions and treatments, please use the links at the top and side of this page to navigate to more detailed information.