Chances are (especially if you are a woman), you may have experienced bladder pain and bladder problems at least once in your lifetime – this is statistically sound, since about one in five females would develop a bladder infection during her lifetime. Males don’t develop bladder infections as commonly, but symptoms are generally more severe for them when it does develop.
But if you were lucky enough never to have experienced urinary bladder infection before, then you wouldn’t have any idea how it feels. A bladder infection, also known as cystitis or urinary tract infection (UTI) is when a person feels the burning need to urinate, even if there is little urine left to excrete. There is also the presence of a painful sensation in the bladder during urination. Apart from the pain felt during urinating, some symptoms include persistent discomfort above the pubic bone (for females) or a fullness in the rectum (for males); and milky and in some cases bloody, urine.
A bladder infection causes severe discomfort; however, it has a strong tendency to disappear even without cures and medication. The problem, however, is that a bladder infection may develop into a kidney infection, which is a more serious ailment. Symptoms of kidney infection include fever, nausea and vomiting, and pain in the side or back areas.
Bladder infection is diagnosed through a urinalysis test, wherein the doctor would test the midstream sample of a person’s urine for bacterial infections. This test has dual purposes: it would diagnose, as well as determine which antibiotics would best kill the present bacteria.
What causes these bladder symptoms? It could start if the urethra, or the tube where urine passes from as it is excreted from the body, becomes infected by bacteria. This bacteria usually comes from the digestive tract. The most common bacteria that infects the urethra is known as the E. coli bacteria, although other bacteria, such as the Chlamydia and the Mycoplasma bacteria are also known causes of infection. These two bacteria may be transmitted through sexual intercourse.
Who are most at risk of bladder infection? Studies show that those who use devices that come into contact with the urethra and bladder may be at risk of developing infection. These people include those who are hospitalized and would need to use a catheter, and women who use a diaphragm as birth control. Also, people with diabetes, those with any abnormality in the urinary tract, and those with an enlarged prostate, seem to develop bladder infection more often than other groups.
Infected bladder treatment would typically consist of the taking of antibiotics. Antibiotics used for this condition include amoxicillin, ampicillin, trimethroprim and nitrofurantoin. Symptoms usually disappear within one to two days of taking the medicine, although doctors usually recommend the patient to take it over a period of one week to ensure that recurrence will not occur. Those who have been infected by the Chlamydia and Mycoplasma bacteria are usually treated by tetracycline or doxycycline.
To relieve the pain, a regulated diet helps: drinking plenty of water and avoiding caffeinated drinks, spicy food and alcohol help in relieving the symptoms and work to cleanse the urinary tract.
As always, prevention is the key, so make sure to maintain the cleanliness of your body and to be very conscious about your health and well being, to avoid being set back by discomfort and disease.