What is a bladder infection?

A bladder infection is a form of urinary tract infection (UTI), which refers to any infection occurring within the urinary tract, such as the ureters, urethra, kidneys or bladder. It is also the most common form of UTI.

While other microorganisms such as yeast are capable of causing bladder infections (particularly if a person has a weakened immune system), the main cause of bladder infections are bacteria, specifically E. coli.

These bacteria reside on the skin as well as in the intestines, and they’re usually harmless. However, if they enter the urethra, they might cause an infection in the bladder.

 

How does gender influence the risk of getting a bladder infection?

Bladder infections affect more women than men for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the urethra of a woman is shorter than that of a man, and it is located near both the anus and vagina, where bacteria are present. This would make it easier for bacteria to enter the urethra during sexual intercourse, when wiping from back to front after using the toilet or when using a diaphragm for birth control.

Pregnancy increases the risk of getting a bladder infection as the baby might press against the bladder, preventing it from fully emptying and providing a breeding ground for bacteria.

Women also have less oestrogen in their bodies after menopause. this would then cause the urethral lining to thin and cause an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina, making them more susceptible to a bladder infection.

In contrast, men usually get bladder infections due to prostate infections.  However, any obstruction, such as a bladder stone or an enlarged prostate, might prevent the bladder from emptying completely, which may result in an infection.

What are the symptoms of a bladder infection?

Bladder infection symptoms vary depending on how severe the infection is. When urinating, you’ll instantly notice differences. The following are some of the most prevalent signs and symptoms:

  • Pain and burning sensation when urinating
  • Hazy or bloody urine
  • Urine with a bad odour
  • Constant feeling of needing to urinate
  • lower abdominal or lower back cramps or pressure

 

What is the fastest way to get rid of a bladder infection?

Antibiotics are used to treat most bladder infections as it is the fastest and most effective way to get rid of a bladder infection.  Bladder infections may go away without the need for any treatment in some mild instances, but because

e untreated UTIs may cause further complications, it is best to consult a doctor to see if it is best to allow the infection to take its course.

If you’ve had a bladder infection for over two days, schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately.

The medications that may be used to treat bladder infections include:

  • Fosfomycin
  • Nitrofurantoin
  • Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole

 

Medications such as Phenazopyridine may also be prescribed to numb the urethra and bladder, as well as to alleviate the searing discomfort associated with certain UTIs.

 

What can you do to relieve the pain and discomfort?

While waiting for your appointment with your doctor, you can follow the following steps to help relieve the pain and discomfort caused by a bladder infection:

  • Drink plenty of water. Drinking the recommended eight glasses of water every day will help eliminate germs from your bladder and speed up your recovery. Caffeine and sugary beverages, on the other hand, might irritate your bladder. So, limit your consumption of such drinks.
  • Do not hold in urine. Holding in your urine when your bladder is full allows bacteria to proliferate, making it more difficult to eliminate them.
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medicines. While they will not cure a UTI, they may help alleviate the pain while you wait for the appropriate treatment. However, you should still consult a pharmacist or doctor before taking these OTC medicines.
  • Get plenty of rest. An adequate rest provides your body with the energy it requires to tackle an infection. You should therefore be getting the recommended six to eight hours of sleep you need each night.
  • Wear comfortable and loose clothing. Loose clothing will not only make you more comfortable when dealing with a bladder infection, but it may also help to prevent bacteria from growing. Bacteria thrive under damp and warm conditions, so it is better to avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes such as skinny jeans when you have a bladder infection.

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