Bladder infection is the infection of the urine bag or the urinary bladder with bacteria. Our urinary tract has various parts like the kidneys which produce urine, ureter or the pipes which connect kidneys and urinary bladder and transport urine from kidneys to the urinary bladder, urinary bladder which stores urine and the urethra which expels the urine from the urinary bladder to the outside.
As Urinary bladder is a part of the urinary tract, sometimes Bladder infections are also known as Urinary tract infection or a UTI. Bladder infections are also known with the name of Cystitis.
Causes of Bladder infection:
There are several causes of Bladder infection. The most common bacteria causing Bladder infection is E.coli or Escherichia coli. Generally, these bacteria travel or move from the urethra into the urinary bladder, attach to the innermost lining of the urinary bladder. These bacteria then cause swelling or inflammation of the urinary bladder or Cystitis.
As the bladder infection-causing bacteria enter through urethra, women develop frequent Bladder infection in comparison to men as they have a shorter urethra. There are several reasons why bacteria enter the bladder through urethra like:
- When you have multiple sexual partners, you are more prone to develop UTI.
- Having sex more frequently also can lead to a Bladder infection.
- If you have sexual intercourse with a stranger, that can also lead to a Bladder infection.
- You might have heard from people that you need to urinate immediately after having sexual intercourse and its correct. If you don’t urinate immediately after sex, it can make you prone to urinary infections.
- Using certain barrier contraceptive options can also make you develop infections of the bladder
- If you suffer from Diabetes, then you are at more risk of developing urinary tract infections
- Having any birth defects in the urinary tract also makes you prone to develop UTI.
- Using Unhygienic washrooms to urinate can also make you develop Bladder infections.
Bladder infection symptoms:
Now, that you have seen the causes of urinary tract infections or bladder infections, let us see what the symptoms of Bladder infections are:
- You might have pain in the lower abdomen or the Pelvic area. This pain can be a mildly uncomfortable feeling of severe pain and tenderness depending on the severity of the infection.
- You might have painful urination or burning sensation while passing urine.
- You might have to pass urine more frequently than before. This can be as frequent as after every 15 to 20 minutes.
- You might feel an urgency to pass urine or rush to the washroom immediately and you might be able to control your urge to urinate.
- Whenever you try to pass urine, you will be able to pass only a little urine and you cannot empty your bladder.
- Sometimes, you might notice blood or yellow-coloured discharge in your urine.
- You can have a fever, tiredness, weakness, body pains as well along with the above symptoms when you have a Bladder infection.
- If the infection spreads from your bladder to your kidneys through the urinary pipe or ureter, you might notice, pain the lower back beside the backbone, fever, chills, blood in urine, nausea and vomiting, etc.
Diagnosis of Bladder infection or Investigations:
To diagnose your urinary tract infection, your physician might ask you to do a Urine microscopy culture and sensitivity or urine MCS test. The result of the urine microscopy test will be available the same day when you give the sample. But, the report of the culture might take a few days to arrive.
Meanwhile, based on the report of the urine microscopy, your doctor might put you on empirical antibiotics. If your Urine report shows pus cells, leukocytes or Nitrites, it suggests that you have a UTI or bacterial infection. Based on it the doctor will give you antibiotics.
Treatment of Bladder infection:
The antibiotics that are given to treat UTI or Bladder infection are different in different countries as per their local sensitivity patterns of antibiotics and guidelines. Some of the commonly used antibiotics to treat UTI or Bladder infection around the world are Ciprofloxacin, Norfloxacin, Nitrofurantoin, Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole, Fosfomycin, Cefixime, Azithromycin, Levofloxacin, etc
Some antibiotics are given for 3 days, while some are given for 5 or 7 days. You should generally start feeling better within 2 to 3 days of antibiotic therapy if the bacteria causing the UTI are susceptible to the antibiotic.
If you are not feeling better after 2 or 3 days of therapy, you need to consult your doctor again. He might change the antibiotic based on the results of the urine culture and sensitivity test report. In the urine culture test report, you will get to know about the bacteria causing the urinary tract infection and the antibiotic to which it is susceptible.
Home Remedies for Bladder infection and Prevention:
There are myriad home remedies which you can follow to get rid of a UTI. Some of them are:
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Keep yourself adequately hydrated. Drink at least 3 to 4 litres of water a day, even during winters.
- If you think that barrier contraceptive like diaphragm is causing your problem, you need to change your contraceptive method.
- Avoid having multiple sexual partners are it causes many infections like UTI, sexually transmitted infections, etc
- Pass urine or urinate immediately after having sexual intercourse.
- Have Vitamin C rich foods in your diet regularly. They help to enhance immunity and prevent infections like UTI.
- Have probiotic supplements or probiotic foods regularly in your diet to enhance immunity.
- You can have Cranberry juice regularly to prevent UTI. Drinking Cranberry juice helps to prevent attachment of bacteria to the urinary tract and thus reduces the chances of having a UTI. But, make sure you drink cranberry juice without any added sugars to keep your sugar intake in check.
- D-Mannose is a type of sugar present in cranberries and some other berries. It also attaches to the bacteria causing UTI and prevents it from attaching to the urinary tract. So, try to have D-mannose containing foods as well in your diet.
So, you have seen that Urinary tract infection or Bladder infection can cause you troublesome symptoms, but it is very much manageable if you take proper precautions to take antibiotics and follow certain home remedies.