Bladder infections are more common in women as compared to men. Read out what causes behind it, what are the symptoms of bladder infections, and how it will be prevented.
Commonly, bladder infection is referred as urinary tract infections. It is also called as cystitis; a condition which defines inflammation of the bladder. Symptoms of bladder infection are more observed in women as compared to men, according to researches. About 20% of all women are affected by this condition at some time in their lives. Bladder infections are caused by bacteria and nearly 80% of bladder infections are caused due to the bacteria Escherichia coli (E.coli). Urinary tract infections take place when bacteria spread infection from the rectal area into the urethra. Aside from E.coli, other bacteria that may cause UTI are Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, and Proteus species.
The causes of bladder infection are different in both men and women. Women suffer from this disease due to their anatomy. In women, the urethra tube that conducts urine from bladder and out of the body is very short and so the chances of infection increased. For most of these infections, patients will need to see a doctor. About 30% of bladder infection go away and do not recur. Recurrence of bladder infection takes place because the treatments used to suppress bacteria seem to work at first but do not produce a lasting cure. In this article, you can find full details about bladder infection in women.
Bladder infection leads to a frequent and urgent need to urinate, although the urine may be very light and the bladder still may not feel empty. For vaginal or intestinal bacteria, it is very easy to travel to the opening to the urethra, make their way up the tube, and infect the bladder. Bladder infections dcan also be caused by the repeated use of antibiotics as they destroy the good bacteria which are required to fight infection along with the bad bacteria.
Causes of bladder infection in women:
Urine is sterile in nature in normal condition and it consists of fluids, salts, and waste products but free of bacteria. Infection takes place when bacteria introduced in to the urethra, generally from the digestive tract, cling to the opening of the urethra and begin to multiply. Bacteria can also be introduced by another way that is through the vagina and anal area. The female urethra is very short which makes easy for the bacteria to reach the bladder and multiply, causing a bladder infection. So, it is important to urinate after intercourse to swill out the urethra and the wipe from front to back after urination and bowel movements.
The risk of developing bladder infection is increased in women who use the diaphragm as a form of birth control. The diaphragm inhibits normal urination as it presses against the neck of the bladder. So, the reduction in urine flow increases pressure within the bladder and the bladder is unable to completely empty itself. The collected urine in bladder acts as a growth medium for bacteria. It may also possible that spermicide used with the diaphragm suppresses the normal vaginal bacteria and permits bacteria that cause cystitis to flourish in the vagina.
During pregnancy, women are especially likely to grow cystitis as the pregnancy itself can interfere with emptying of the bladder. After menopause in women, estrogen production is reduced which can thin the vaginal and vulvar tissues around the urethra (atrophic vaginitis and atrophic urethritis), predisposing a woman to repeated episodes of cystitis. Another cause of bladder infection is a drooping (prolapsed) uterus or bladder which may interfere with emptying of the bladder.
After infecting the bladder, the bacteria may migrate upward into the kidneys and cause a kidney infection. Decreased intake of water and infrequent urination also increases the risk of urinary tract infections.
Symptoms of bladder infection in women:
Feeling of a constant and sudden urge to urinate and a burning or painful sensation while urinating, are the usual symptoms of bladder infection. Generally, these symptoms develop several times in a day. The person experiences an inability to fully empty the bladder despite recurrent urination. This condition is known as dysuria. Aside from bladder spasms, urge develops to recurrently urinate at night (nocturia). Due to a tinge of blood in urine, the urine may appear reddish and this symptom of blood in the urine is found in 30% of affected people. Soreness or pain in lower back or abdomen is also experienced by women at all times.
In rare cases, fever is also present. A bladder infection does not cause usually fever but occurrence of fever may mean that the infection has affected the kidneys or the blood stream, as well. Generally, pain is felt above the pubic bone. Kidney infection develops symptoms of back pain, flank pain, pain below the ribs, nausea or vomiting.
In short, symptoms are:
- A feeling of urgency during urination
- Blood or pus in the urine
- Pain or burning during urination
- Strong-smelling urine
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- The need to urinate more often than usual
- Cramps or pain in the lower abdomen
- Chills or fever (fever may be the only symptom in infants and children)
Treatment for Bladder Infections:
Generally, bladder infections are treated with antibiotics, and treatment usually lasts one to two weeks. With three to four days of medication, the infection itself may clear up but most doctors prefer a longer period of medication to make sure that the infection does not happen again.
Doctors may prescribe long-term antibiotics for women who suffer from recurrent bladder infections (3 to 4 a year). Some patients may be required to take the medication for up to six months.
To prevent recurrent infections, a minority of women with complicated bladder infections may require surgical treatment. The patient may be asked to supply another sample of urine to be tested after all antibiotics have been taken to ensure the infection is gone.
Prevention of bladder infection:
- Stay hydrated: drink 6-8 glasses of water daily and urinate frequently throughout the day
- Avoid daily use of tight panty liners and synthetic underwear and wear cotton underwear
- Building your immune defenses also helps to prevent infection.
- Use minimal caffeine, alcohol and sugar on a daily basis
- Wipe from front to back after urination or bowel movements to move potential bacteria away from the urethra
- Use lubrication during intercourse and urinate within 10-20 minutes afterwards, to help clean out bacteria
- Drink unsweetened cranberry juice regularly
- Take showers instead of baths
Female Bladder Infections (Video from Youtube):