Bladder Infection


Etiology: Inflammation of the bladder usually occurring secondary to ascending urinary tract infections. Associated organs (kidney, prostate, urethra) may be involved. May be acute or chronic.

CAUSES: Bladder infections are usually caused by some type of bacteria. Kidney infections are more serious and often result in cystitis. More frequent in women than in men due to the closeness of the bladder and urethra to the vagina. About 85% of urinary tract infections are caused by Escherichia coli, a bacterium found in the intestines. Chlamydia may also cause bladder problems in sexually active women.

SYMPTOMS: Acute: frequent and painful urination. Chronic: Secondary to some other lesion with possibly pyuria (pus in the urine) as the only symptom.

Cystitis is characterized by an urgent desire to empty the bladder. Even after the bladder has been emptied, there may be a desire to urinate again. The urine often has a strong, unpleasant odor and may appear cloudy. Children suffering from bladder infections may have lower abdominal pain and experience a painful burning sensation while urinating. Blood in the urine could indicate a more serious problem and warrants medical attention.

TREATMENT: Antibiotics are useful in treating the infection but more definitive therapy will be required if the basic cause is a renal calculus (kidney stone) or a structural defect in the urinary tract such as obstruction. If your physician prescribes antibiotics and analgesics, make sure to take some form of acidophilus to replace the friendly bacteria. Antibiotics kill all bacteria, not just the disease causing, but the friendly as well.

URINARY TRACT INFECTION SELF-TEST: Purchase the product called Dipstick at the local drugstore. It contains a thin strip of plastic that has been chemically treated. If the tip of the strip changes color when dipped in urine, it indicates the presence of bacterial infection. Make sure the urine sample is collected cleanly (collected mid-stream).




CONSIDERATIONS: Consult your doctor before using diuretics.

Look for allergies; they often mimic the symptoms of bladder infections.

Bladder infections in men may signal a more serious problem, such as prostatitis.

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