A urinary bladder infection is a pathological condition of the genitourinary system which is normally caused by bacteria. It is also known by the name of urinary tract infection. Some of the cases of urinary bladder infection can occur suddenly whereas some cases may develop gradually over a period of time. Urinary bladder infection which develop suddenly are called as acute urinary bladder infection whereas infections which happen gradually over a period of time are called as chronic urinary bladder infection.
Urinary Bladder Infection needs to be treated early so as to prevent the infection from spreading to other areas of the body and creating more damage, and for early treatment early detection of the bacteria causing the infection is important.
What are the Causes of Urinary Bladder Infection?
As stated, urinary bladder infection is caused by bacteria. The bacteria may infiltrate the body through the urethra and traverse through to the bladder resulting in urinary bladder infection. Under normal circumstances, any bacteria present in the body are flushed out during urination. Additionally, males have prostate gland which acts as added protection against bacteria infections and secrete hormones which prevent bacterial infections but still there are times when the bacteria is able to get through and stick to the wall of the bladder and multiply rapidly thus affecting the body's ability to destroy them resulting in Urinary Bladder Infection.
The bacterium most commonly associated with Urinary Bladder Infections is the Escherichia coli or E. coli. This type of bacteria is present naturally in the large intestines and infection may increase the volume of these bacteria or if these bacteria are not eliminated from the body through urination. Some of the other bacterium that may result in Urinary Bladder Infection is Chlamydia and Mycoplasma but these types of bacteria are transmitted to the body through unhealthy sexual contacts whereas E. Coli is normally present in the body.
What are the Risk Factors for Urinary Bladder Infection?
Urinary Bladder Infection can affect anyone of any age group but is more prevalent in females than in males, the reason behind this being that the urethra of females is shorter than that of males thus making it easier for bacteria to travel to the bladder. Some of the risk factors for Urinary Bladder Infection are:
- Advanced age resulting in immune compromised state with inability to fight infections making them prone to such infections.
- Long periods of immobility such as when recuperating from a surgery or as a result of a serious medical condition may also make an individual prone to getting urinary bladder infection.
- If an individual does not take enough fluids this may also make that individual prone to urinary bladder infection.
- A surgical procedure within the genitourinary system including the urinary tract is also a risk factor for Urinary Bladder Infections.
- Any type of urinary obstruction such as a blockage in the bladder or urethra is a risk factor for urinary bladder infection.
- An individual with narrowed urethra or enlarged prostate is also at risk for Urinary Bladder Infection.
- Other risk factors for urinary bladder infection include urinary retention, bowel incontinence, pregnancy, and diabetes.
What are the Symptoms of Urinary Bladder Infection?
The symptoms of Urinary Bladder Infection depend on the chronicity of the condition. An individual with Urinary Bladder Infection will immediately notice some change during urination initially and as the infection progresses the affected individual will also notice some pain with urination as well. Other common symptoms of Urinary Bladder Infection are:
- Cloudy urine
- Increased urinary frequency
- Urine with a foul smell
- Burning with urination
- Painful urination
- Urinary urgency
- Abdominal cramping.
How is Urinary Bladder Infection Diagnosed?
If an individual has the above mentioned symptoms and a Urinary Bladder Infection is suspected then the best way to definitively diagnose the condition is by performing a urinalysis. In this, a urine sample will betaken and sent to the laboratory for analysis where the ample will be evaluated for the presence of
- White blood cells
- Red blood cells
Once bacteria are found in the urine sample the next step will be to identify the type of bacteria and its sensitivity. This will be done through a urine culture and sensitivity. Once the type of bacteria is identified along with its sensitivity then it becomes easier for the physician to formulate a treatment plan to treat Urinary Bladder Infection.
How are Urinary Bladder Infection Treated?
As is the case with most bacterial infections, urinary bladder infection is also treated with prescription antibiotics to eliminate the bacteria and help the patient get relief from symptoms of urinary bladder infection. The most common medication for treatment of Urinary Bladder Infection is Pyridium. This medication not only kills the bacteria but also helps in relieving burning and pain with urination due to urinary bladder infection.
Apart from the medications, there are certain home treatments which can be tried to get rid of urinary bladder infection. The physician may recommend the patient to drink plenty of fluids so that the offending bacteria may be flushed out of the body through urine. Any type of fluid in this case is beneficial but drinking water is recommended. The physician may also recommend you to take over-the-counter ascorbic acid which is rich in vitamin C which is also quite effective in eliminating the bacteria and help with symptoms of urinary bladder infection. Drinking cranberry juice is quite effective in eliminating the bacteria and treat urinary bladder infection along with not allowing the bacteria to get stuck on the bladder walls and multiply.
How to Prevent Urinary Bladder Infections?
Urinary bladder infection is not something which cannot be prevented. If an individual is prone to getting recurrent urinary bladder infections then the physician may recommend prophylactic antibiotics to prevent further episodes of urinary bladder infection. Also, there are certain lifestyle measures which one can adopt so as to prevent getting recurrent urinary bladder infection. These lifestyle changes are:
- Drinking Water: It is believed that drinking up to 8 glasses of water in a day can help prevent Urinary Bladder Infection. It should be noted here individuals with kidney issues need to consult with their physicians about the appropriate amount of fluid intake.
- Cranberry Juice: Consumption of cranberry juice daily also goes a long way in preventing urinary bladder infection
- For females, wipe from front to back after urinating and do not use douches, or powders
- Take showers instead of baths to prevent Urinary Bladder Infection
- Wear cotton undergarments and loose fitting clothes
- Maintain good hygiene
- Urinate before and after sexual activity
- Adopt hygienic and protected sexual practices.
What is the Prognosis for Urinary Bladder Infections?
Majority of Urinary Bladder Infections are treated within a couple of days of antibiotic treatment. In case if the infection has spread to neighboring parts of the body then it may take about a month to recover from Urinary Bladder Infection.
Urinary Bladder Infection are preventable if an individual takes appropriate measures and in case if he or she gets infected then following the physician's instructions diligently goes a long way in treating and preventing future episodes of Urinary Bladder Infection.