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Bladder infection

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Bladder infection result from bacterial invasion. Also known as cystitis, it is more common in women than in men.  Women are more vulnerable to bladder infection due to the structure of the urethra and its close proximity to the rectum which makes easier for bacterial migration to the bladder.

Symptoms of bladder infections

  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Burning, itching and pain while urinating 
  • Sudden urge to urinate but volume of urine may be very less
  • Cloudy and foul smelling urine
  • Fever

In case of severe or complicated infections the affected person might suffer from severe abdominal pain, back and side pain, vomiting, nausea, chills, high fever, and confusion.

Causes of bladder infection

There are several reasons of bladder infections. The most common being bacterial cystitis which occurs from Escherichia coli. It enters the bladder from the urinary tract.

Other risk factors for having bladder infections are:

  • Undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • Use of catheter for a long time
  • Chronic inflammation in pelvic organs or the bladder itself. For men bladder infection is usually caused by prostatitis
  • From chemicals contained in personal products like spermicides, vaginal washes, etc.
  • People who have weakened immunity (e.g. tuberculosis), diverticulitis, cancer, pelvic disease, endometriosis etc.

Women can also acquire bladder infection during sexual intercourse. Vulnerability further increases with rise in oestrogen levels during menopause, if they have kidney stone or bladder stone, have family history of UTI or have an abnormally shaped urethra.

When you see a doctor?

If you are a male and have the aforementioned symptoms then you must see a doctor immediately. For women, if you run high fever along with body pain and you experience discomfort while urinating for a few days then you must go for a medical check up.

Complications for bladder infection

Untreated infections can lead to infection in your kidneys. 

Diagnosis of bladder infection

In most cases your doctor can confirm bladder infection by examining the symptoms. However, you must tell your doctor if you have a medical history of any disease or undergoing any treatment.

You might have to undergo the following tests depending upon the severity of the infection. The tests also help to diagnose the underlying cause of the bladder infection. They are:

  • Urine culture test and complete urinalysis
  • X ray or ultrasound of the abdomen and bladder
  • Cystoscopy of the bladder

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Treatment for bladder infection

Bladder infections caused by bacteria are treated by antibiotics. The dosage is determined as per the severity of the infection which can range from 3 days to 10 days. The course might be repeated if the infection is recurrent. In that case low dose antibiotics would be prescribed. Additionally your doctor might prescribe you pain killers and OTC pills to bring down the fever.

In case of chronic bladder inflammation, your doctor might consider performing bladder distention with water or air.

Above all, your doctor will instruct you to take some precautions which would not only boost your immunity but also reduce your risk of having bladder infection in the future.

Lifestyle changes and home remedies for bladder infection

  • You can take compress with a warm water bad over your lower abdomen to get over the pain. Take rest 
  • Drink plenty of water and fresh fruit juices, especially cranberry juice to get enhance healing
  • Never restrain from urination. Always urinate when you feel the urge and after intercourse
  • Practise hygiene – avoid using public toilets as much as possible and stay away from perfumed personal care products that might lead to an infection.
  • Make sure you complete the course of antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor.

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: January 07, 2015

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