Bladder infection is medically referred to as Cystitis; it is an inflammation of the bladder and is also known as the inflammation of the lower urinary tract. It is often caused by bacterial infection.
Bladder infection may be symptomatic or asymptomatic and the cause may be nosocomial or community-acquired infections. Acute bladder infections are commoner in women than men, because of their peculiar genitourinary anatomy. Several microorganisms can cause bladder infections, but the most common culprits are gram negative organisms and Ecoli is responsible for about 80 percent of cases in patients that are not on urinary catheters.
What causes bladder infection?
Bladder infection is caused by a variation of factors;
- Complication arising from illness – bladder infection can be triggered by illness and use of drugs that the body does not react well to.
- Inability to fully empty the bladder – urinary tract infection may be triggered when an individual has difficulty fully emptying the bladder. This may cause urine to be held in the body for too long, thereby supporting growth and rapid multiplication of bacteria
- Catheter use – people who cannot control their urine flow or who need aid to pass out urine usually make use of catheter. This can cause bruising and injury whenever it is been changed. The injury may increase chances of infection.
- Poor toilet hygiene – people, especially females who make use of unclean or unhealthy toilets are highly vulnerable to bladder infections. The short urethra present in women also allows for easy passage and transportation of infection from the vagina and anus to the bladder. Also, women who clean up after toilet use by wiping from the anus upfront to the vagina can cause bacteria to be easily transferred into the vagina…
- Forceful sexual intercourse – this can cause bruising and increase chances of infection.
- Tampon use – insertion of tampons into the vagina can cause bacteria to be introduced to the vagina, which can easily travel through the short urethra to the bladder.
- Use of diaphragm – women who also make use of diaphragm as a form of contraceptive during sexual intercourse are also open to risk of bladder infection or bacterial cystitis. Other factors that can trigger cystitis in women may include use of spermicidal creams and jellies, douching, use of dirty underwear, etc.
- Enlargement of the prostate gland – the prostate gland is the male sex organ. Enlargement of this gland may occur and will prevent total emptying of the bladder during urination, causing urine stagnation which can easily trigger bladder infection.
Frequent sexual activity may also cause bacteria to get mixed up in the vaginal discharge. Such bacteria can also find its way into the bladder.
What are the symptoms of bladder infection?
Patients suffering from bladder infections may experience any of the following symptoms;
A burning sensation may be felt when urinating. There may be increased need for urinating. Sometimes there is increased urgency to urinate but there may be little or no urine to show for it.
In some cases, traces of blood may be seen in a sufferer’s urine. Patient’s urine may also smell really bad. Urine may look unusually dark or cloudy at times. In some cases, pain may be felt right above the pubic bone.
In children, symptoms that occur may include;
Difficulty in movement, Lack of appetite, feeling of general weakness in the body, feeling of irritation and an urge to throw up.
How can you prevent bladder infection?
Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily to flush out toxins, improve metabolism and keep the skin healthy and well moisturized. It is advised that at least, a glass of cranberry juice should be consumed daily. Cranberry is believed to prevent bacteria from attaching to the walls of the bladder, thereby decreasing risk of infection.
Urine should be passed out after sex to flush out remnants of discharge which can promote bacteria growth. Ensure that you completely empty your bladder whenever you urinate to prevent urine retention and consequent stagnation. When cleaning up after toilet used, females are strongly advised to clean up from front to back to avoid transporting bacteria to the vagina which can easily find its way to the urethra. Good hygiene should be maintained at all times to decrease risk of infection. Underwear should be mildly loose, comfortable and clean at all times.
How can bladder infection be treated?
Normally, the bladder infection clears up and goes away on its own after about 2 – 3 days. If this does not happen, you need to consult your doctor. In fact, if you suspect bladder or urinary tract infection, you should consult a doctor right away, for prompt management of the situation, to avoid possible complications.
The doctor performs a dipstick test which is very quick and easy. He then prescribes the proper medication based on the cause found in the urine.
In cases where the cause of the infection cannot be ascertained or where there is a presence of more than one type of bacterium, a urine culture is carried out. In this case, the doctor collects fresh urine from the patient and sends it to the laboratory to be cultured, examined and tested for some days. When the result of the culture is gotten, the doctor will then go ahead to prescribe the necessary treatment. Usually, antibiotics are prescribed to the patient.