A bladder infection, also known as cystitis, is a type of urinary tract infection. Urinary tract infections can affect any part of the urinary tract, including the bladder, urethra, and the kidneys. When the infection affects only the urethra, it is known as 'urethritis', while the infection of the kidneys is termed as 'pyelonephritis'.
An infection of the bladder is usually caused by bacteria, and it is the most common type of urinary tract infection. Bladder infections are more common in women, as their urethra is much shorten than men, and is located closer to the vagina and the anus. This makes it easier for the bacteria to enter the urinary tract from the vagina or the anus. However, men can also get bladder infections at times, which can produce a number of symptoms.
Urine usually does not contain any bacteria or infectious agents. So, an infection of the bladder is primarily caused by the bacteria that enter the urethra from the digestive tract, and then spread to the bladder. The bacterium that is mainly responsible for causing this infection is Escherichia coli (E. coli). Microorganisms like, Chlamydia and Mycoplasma can also cause infections, but such infections usually affect the urethra and the organs of the reproductive system.
In men, urinary tract infections usually develop from an infection of the urethra. Even a bacterial infection of the prostate can spread to the bladder at times, to cause cystitis. Other possible causes of this condition are, enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), formation of bladder and kidney stones, and the use of urinary catheters.
Signs and Symptoms
- Frequent and intense urge to urinate
- Pain while urinating
- A burning or stinging sensation while passing urine
- Cloudy or dense urine with a strong odor
- Presence of blood in urine (hematuria)
- Lower abdominal discomfort or tenderness in the area of the bladder
- Pelvic pressure
- Low-grade fever
The condition is usually diagnosed by evaluating the symptoms, along with examining a sample of urine. A urine culture can be required at times to diagnose the condition. As far as the treatment is concerned, different types of antibiotics are used for this purpose.
Usually, a urine culture helps identify the bacteria responsible for causing the infection, on the basis of which a particular antibiotic can be prescribed. If the pain is quite severe, then your physician can recommend medications to relieve the pain, along with the antibiotics.
Along with taking the medications prescribed by your physician, be sure to drink plenty of water or fluid. The symptoms of the infection usually resolve within a few days. However, it is important to complete the entire course of antibiotics prescribed by your physician even if the symptoms subside.
A bladder infection is not a very serious condition, and it can be treated effectively within a short period of time. But untreated bladder or urinary tract infections can sometimes lead to acute or chronic kidney infections. Therefore, it is important to identify the symptoms of this condition to ensure its prompt treatment. To prevent this infection in the future, be sure to maintain good personal hygiene, and keep your genital area clean and dry.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.