Myths and Misconceptions

Myths and Misconceptions

Frequently it is explained to us that the nature of our anatomy leaves us susceptible to repeated rounds. This is not true. We are not victims of our anatomy. Cystitis is an abnormal bladder condition typically caused by some functional problem. Only rarely is it anatomically related. Furthermore, contrary to common belief, a woman's urinary tract is not a shortened version of a man's. Both have he primary function of eliminating the body's liquid wastes, but ours is 'uniquely adapted to bearing children. Consequently, we have different urologic problems.

Medical schools teach that bladder infections occur because the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder) is too short to keep bacteria from the nearby vagina and rectum out of the bladder. Au contraire, mon cher. This ingenious arrangement gives our bodies a natural cleansing mechanism. As we urinate, urine streams over the labia, the vagina, the perineum, and the anal sphincter, washing away any bacteria adhering to the tissues. When we do get a bladder infection, it is because something is not working according to nature's plan.

There are other incorrect beliefs about the causes of bladder infections. Except for "sitting on cold ground," most of these have something to do with sex: too much sex, not enough sex, oral sex, and venereal disease. In one study, 94 percent of the women involved thought their infections were related to sex. Sadly, some women in the study believed that cystitis was a punishment for having sex. Although bacteria do get into the bladder during intercourse, most of us don't get infections because of our self- cleaning function. Urinary tract infections are not a problem of bacteria getting into the bladder. They are caused by bacteria not getting out.

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