What is Bladder Infection & How is it Treated?
What is Bladder Infection?
Bladder Infection, also known as cystitis, is a type of urinary tract infection where there is bacterial infection occurring inside the bladder. Individuals having weak immune systems will also have bladder infections caused by yeast. Majority of the bladder infections are acute in nature and they develop suddenly. Some patients may have chronic bladder infection which recurs over a period of time. It is important to start treatment early to prevent the infection from spreading.
Some of the common symptoms of Bladder Infection include: painful/burning urination, foul-smelling urine, urinary urgency, cloudy or bloody urine and pain in the lower abdomen and lower back. If you are experiencing these symptoms, then seek treatment immediately.
How is Bladder Infection Treated?
Antibiotics are the first line of treatment for treating and curing urinary bladder infection. The type of antibiotic and the duration for which it needs to be taken depends on the severity of the bladder infection, whether the patient has had a previous history of bladder infection, and other factors of the patient, such as patient's age, gender, use of other medications, allergies and other health issues. The urologist decides which antibiotics are going to work best for each patient by taking into consideration the abovementioned factors and after conducting a thorough medical history and physical exam of the patient. The length of treatment varies and depends on the severity of the bladder infection and on the specific antibiotic which the doctor prescribes. It is very important to complete the full course of antibiotics even if the symptoms subside and even if you are feeling better. Taking the complete course of antibiotics as prescribed by the doctor ensures that the bacteria are completely out of your body' system.
Self-Medication for Bladder Infection
Self-medication for bladder infection can be an option depending on the patient and the type of bladder infection. Self-medication is an option for patients suffering from recurrent and mild bladder infections. Such individuals, who are familiar with their symptoms of recurrent bladder infections, can get the doctor to prescribe the correct bladder infection antibiotics in advance and they will start the treatment on their own upon commencement of symptoms of bladder infection.
Treatment of Bladder Infection During Pregnancy
Treating bladder infection in pregnant women can be difficult. In some patients, the bacteria are present within the urinary bladder, but without the apparent signs of bladder infection; and this could lead to severe infections and can even jeopardize the pregnancy. The antibiotics which are given to treat bladder infection during pregnancy are different and are given after careful consideration to prevent any potential harm to the fetus; therefore, it is important to carefully evaluate the patient before starting her on appropriate antibiotic therapy.
Simple Home Remedies for Bladder Infection Treatment
The given below remedies should be tried out if the bladder infection is mild/minor. If the symptoms are not improving after a couple of days of trying the below remedies, then patient should consult his/her doctor immediately.
Increasing Your Water Intake
Increasing your water intake helps in flushing out the bacteria from the bladder and will eliminate the bladder infection faster. Water also dilutes the urine, so there is less pain with urination. As the urine is made of acids and waste products from the body; dark and concentrated urine is more acidic and can be painful to pass when having bladder infection. Drinking more water will dilute the urine and make it light in color; and it doesn't pain much when passing urine. Patients suffering from bladder infection must drink at least 10 glasses of water every day. It is also important to avoid drinking caffeinated drinks, such as tea, coffee and soda, as caffeine causes irritation in the urinary bladder and aggravates the bladder infection.
Urinating frequently helps in eliminating the infection in the urinary bladder by pushing the bacteria out of the urinary bladder. If you hold the urine and not go to the bathroom when you need to, this will allow the bacteria to flourish and multiply within the urinary bladder. It is especially important to drink a glass of water and urinate after having sex, as sexual activity tends to push the bacteria further into the urethra of both women and men. Urinating immediately after sex helps in flushing out the bacteria away from the urinary tract and prevents germs from accumulating and aggravating the infection.
As mentioned in the first point, drinking lots water will help in frequent urination, which in turn will help in speedy elimination of bladder infection.
Cranberry is a famous natural remedy for treating bladder infections for centuries. According to studies, cranberry tablets and cranberry juice are a beneficial remedy for women suffering from frequent bladder infections. Cranberry juice can easily be used as an alternative treatment for bladder infection; however, it is recommended to consult your doctor before starting to drink cranberry juice.
Warm Compresses or Heating Pads
Application of warm compresses over the abdominal region or back helps in relieving the dull ache which is present in bladder infections. Warm compresses or heating pads are additionally beneficial if the medications are not easing your discomfort. A heating pad can be easily purchased at the local drugstore. It is important to follow the instructions on the package to avoid burning yourself. Alternatively, a warm, moist compress can be made at home by soaking a small towel in warm water, rinsing it out and placing it over the bladder, lower pelvis, abdomen or back.
Pain Relievers (Analgesics)
Analgesics helps in relieving the pain felt in the pelvic region in bladder infection, especially when the patient is not urinating. Antibiotics take a couple of days before they kick in; meanwhile patient can take pain medications to help relieve any back pain, abdominal cramps, or discomfort which is felt in bladder infection during urination. Taking over the counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, help in taking the edge off the pain and gives the patient some relief till the antibiotics start working.
Wearing the Right Clothes
Bacteria thrive in moist and warm environments. It is important to avoid wearing tight jeans or other tight fitting clothes for prolonged periods of time and especially during summer, as it can trap moisture in your delicate areas and easily convert it into a breeding ground for bacteria. Always wear loose, comfortable and cotton clothes, especially in summer to allow your skin to breathe and to keep the bacteria in the urinary system at bay. Try to wear loose pants, cotton underwear and loose skirts as much as possible to promote air circulation and to cut down on the growth of the bacteria.
Antibiotics are the first line of treatment as they destroy the bacteria which cause the bladder infection. Antibiotics are prescribed for severe and prolonged bladder infection. If the bladder infection is mild, then antibiotics may not be needed and the infection can subside on its own with increased hydration and urination. However, patient may experience symptoms of bladder infection for a couple of days. If the symptoms persist for more than three days and are worsening, then you need to consult your doctor and get started on antibiotics for treating your bladder infection.