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How many women are affected or at risk for UTIs & UI?

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UTIs in Women

UTIs are relatively common—a study from the National Center for Health Statistics of infections treated most frequently in American emergency rooms showed that only pneumonia is treated more often than UTI.1 UTIs account for as many as 8.1 million visits to health care providers every year.2

Estimates from the American Urological Association and the NIH for a woman's lifetime risk of contracting at least one UTI range from approximately 40% to more than 50%.3,4 Women are at greater risk of UTIs because the urethra in women is shorter than in men, allowing bacteria better access to the bladder. During childhood, the risk for girls is 8%.5

A woman's risk of having recurrent UTIs increases with each infection.5

Pregnant women are more prone to UTIs than are other women, and when an infection does occur, it is more likely to travel to the kidneys. About 4% to 5% of pregnant women develop a UTI.5

UI in Women

A 2008 study estimated that more than one-fourth of women in the United States have a pelvic floor disorder.6 Visit http://www.nichd.nih.gov/news/releases/pages/sep091608_PFV.aspx for more information. That same study estimated that about four women in 25 have UI.6

UI is more common among women who are obese or overweight. The 2008 study found that rates of pelvic floor disorders, including UI, among overweight women were about 26%, and about 30% among obese women. Among normal weight women, the rate was only 15%.

Another study estimated that by 2050, the number of women who have surgery to treat UI will increase by almost 50%, to more than 300,000 women.7


  1. Pitts, S. R., Niska, R. W., Xu, J., & Burt, C. W. (2008). National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2006 emergency department summary. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.
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  2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Clearinghouse. (2011). Kidney and urologic diseases statistics for the United States. Retrieved June 22, 2012, from http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/kustats/ [top]
  3. American Urological Association Foundation. (2011). Urinary tract infections in adults. Retrieved May 17, 2012, from http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=47 External Web Site Policy [top]
  4. Griebling, T. L. (2007). Urinary tract infection in women. In M. S. Litwin & C. S. Saigal (Eds.), Urologic diseases in America (pp. 587–619). NIH publication 07-5512. Washington, DC: National Institutes of Health. Retrieved August 30, 2012, from http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/statistics/uda/Urologic_Diseases_in_America.pdf (PDF - 6.29 MB) [top]
  5. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. (2011). Urinary Tract Infections in Children. Retrieved July 17, 2012, from http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/utichildren/ [top]
  6. Nygaard, I., Barber, M. D., Burgio, K. L., Kenton, K., Meikle, S., Schaffer, J., et al. (2008). Prevalence of symptomatic pelvic floor disorders in US women. Journal of the American Medical Association, 300, 1311–1316. [top]
  7. Wu, J. M., Kawasaki, A., Hundley, A. F., Dieter, A. A., Myers, E. R., & Sung, V.W. (2011). Predicting the number of women who will undergo incontinence and prolapse surgery, 2010 to 2050. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 205, 230.e1–230.e5. [top]

Last Updated Date: 06/27/2013
Last Reviewed Date: 04/12/2013
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