Your bladder is the sac which holds urine before it is expelled outside your body through the urethra. If bacteria get into your urethra they can travel to the bladder and cause a bladder infection or cystitis. Bladder infection is usually easier to treat than other UTIs but when infection reaches the kidney it can cause life threatening complications.
Causes of Bladder Infection
Under normal circumstances your body gets rid of bacteria naturally when you pass urine out. The most common bacteria that causes urinary infections is known as Escherichia coli (E. coli) which is found in the large intestines, if it multiplies or fails to be destroyed during urination it leads to infection. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) sexually transmitted bacteria like Chlamydia and Mycoplasma lead to bladder infection.
Who gets bladder infection?
You may be at risk of getting a bladder infection if you are sexually active; you have a low immunity because of diabetes, a surgery near or in the urinary tract, old age, pregnancy, abnormal urinary tract, catheter use or poor fluid taking habits.
Women are more prone to bladder infection than men since men’s urethra is longer and the prostates secrete hormones which kill bacteria. The female urethra is very close to the rectum providing a short distance for bacteria to travel.
Symptoms vary from one person to another because of differences in the severity of the UTI infection. The common symptoms you might notice include
- Cloudy urine
- Blood in urine
- Smelly urine
- Pain whilst urinating
- Urgency to urinate
- Pain or pressure on your lower back
When you feel pain on one side or both of your lower back it may mean that the infection has spread to your kidneys.
Treatment of Bladder Infection
Your doctor will diagnose you with bladder infection if a urinalysis test of your urine contains blood cells or bacteria. Another test is the urine culture which determines the exact bacteria which is causing the problem so that they can give you the best antibiotic to eliminate it. Some home remedies can also give the same results. For example, water washes off the bacteria out of your bladder and cranberry juice prevents bacteria from sticking to the bladder walls.
The most common antibiotic for bladder infection is phenazopyridine which is administered orally. Antibiotics will lead to the eventual demise of the bacteria that are causing your bladder infection.
Your doctor may also prescribe medication like Pyridium to relieve your pain and to neutralize acidity which causes irritation and burning.
If you have a chronic bladder infection that is persistent or has spread to other parts of the urinary tract your doctor may give you more aggressive treatment for a longer period.
A preventive measure for bladder infection is prescribed antibiotics taken in small doses daily to control future bladder infections. You may also keep bacterial infection away by keeping the area between your thighs clean, dry and aired.