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Bladder Infections: Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

Publisher/Author : Pacific Cross

This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)

Bladder Infections

Know the basics

What is bladder infections?

A bladder infection (cystitis) is an acute urinary tract infection caused by bacteria presenting in the bladder.  In some cases, this condition can be recur over the long term. Cystitis may be a reaction to certain drugs, radiation therapy or potential irritants or a complication of another illness.

A suitable treatment can help to reduce the complication of bladder infection. The most serious symptoms is kidney infections. The usual treatment for bacterial cystitis is antibiotics. Treatment for other types of cystitis depends on the underlying cause.

How common is bladder infections?

Bladder infections is extremely common. It commonly occurs in females more than in males. More than 50% of all women experience at least one time having bladder infection in their lifelong.

It can affect patients at any age. In men, the risk of getting bladder infection increases with ages. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of bladder infections?

The common symptoms of bladder infections are:

  • Cloudy or bloody or foul-smelling urine;
  • Urinating more often than usual; characterized by a small amount of urine;
  • Pain or burning sensation when urinating;
  • A frequent sensation of having to urinate, which is called urgency;
  • Cramping or pressure in the lower abdomen or lower back;
  • Back pain on both sides or the middle of the back;
  • Accidental daytime wetting in young children.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Back or side pain;
  • Fever and chills;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Frequent or painful urination;
  • Bloody urine;
  • Daytime wetting accidents in children;

Know the causes

What causes bladder infections?

There are many causes that lead to bladder infections:

Bacteria infections:

Bacteria infection is the most common cause leading to bladder infections, when bacteria attach to the wall of bladder and multiply instead of being normally flushed during urination.

The most common type of bacteria causing bladder infection is Escherichia coli (E. coli) that naturally locates in the large intestine. When having many E. coli in the body, and they are no removed by urination, an infection may occur.

There are also other bacteria causing bladder infection, such as Chlamydia, Mycoplasma.  These types of bacteria are transmitted when having sex with people having Chlamydia, Mycoplasma.

Non-infectious bladder infections:

There are other reasons for bladder infections, including:

  • Interstitial cystitis.
  • Drug-induced cystitis: certain drugs, particularly the chemotherapy drugs, for example cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide, can cause inflammation of your bladder.
  • Radiation cystitis: particularly radiation treatment of the pelvic area.
  • Using of a catheter.
  • Chemical cystitis: such as bubble bath, feminine hygiene sprays or spermicidal jellies.
  • Cystitis associated with other conditions. cystitis may be known as a complication of other disorders, for example, diabetes, kidney stones, an enlarged prostate or spinal cord injuries.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for bladder infections?

There are many risk factors for bladder infections, such as:

  • Gender: bladder infections occur in women more than in men.
  • Age: the risk of having bladder infections increases with ages.
  • Immobility.
  • Having sex.
  • Using certain types of birth control.
  • Being in pregnancy.
  • Have experienced menopause.
  • Having stone in the bladder.
  • Having an enlarged prostate.
  • Having diabetes, HIV infection and cancer treatment.
  • Using bladder catheters in long time.
  • In men without any predisposing health issues, cystitis is rare.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is bladder infections diagnosed?

Bladder infections can be diagnosed by performing:

  • Urine analysis;
  • Cystoscopy;
  • Imaging test (x-ray, CT scan).

How is bladder infections treated?

Bladder infections can be treated depending on what cause lead to this condition:

Treating bacterial-causing bladder infections:

Antibiotics are the first line of treatment for bladder infections caused by bacteria. Consulting your doctor for more information.

  • First-time infection:Patient should take antibiotics for three days to a week even if symptoms is improved significantly within a day.
  • Repeat infection:Antibiotic can be prescribed in a longer time of treatment.
  • Hospital-acquired infection: is the most challenge of treatment because of the antibiotic resistance.
  • For women in postmenopausal, a vaginal estrogen cream can be used.

Treating bladder infections caused by other reasons:

Treating bladder infections caused by other reasons depends on the cause leading to bladder infections:

  • With interstitial cystitis, aims of treatment is to ease the signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis, including:
  • Medications that are taken orally or inserted directly into your bladder;
  • Stretching the bladder with water or gas (bladder distention) or surgery;
  • Nerve stimulation.
  • Chemical cystitis: avoiding these products may help ease symptoms and prevent further episodes of cystitis.
  • Radiation cystitis and drug-induced cystitis: using medications for easing the symptoms or drinking more to flush out bladder irritants.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage bladder infections?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with Bladder infections, including:

  • Hydratation: drink much water. consulting with your doctor to know the amount of water suitable for your health condition.
  • Urinating when needing.
  • Wiping from front to back after urinating if you are female.
  • Avoiding to use douches, feminine hygiene sprays, or powders.
  • Taking showers instead of baths.
  • Wearing cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes and changing underwear every day.
  • Wearing sanitary pads instead of tampons when being in cycles.
  • Avoiding using a diaphragm or spermicide and change to an alternate form of birth control.
  • Using non-spermicidal lubricated condoms.
  • Urinating before and after sexual activity.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

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