Bladder Infection - Cystitis
When the bladder or urinary tract experience an
infection or inflammation it is known as cystitis. It's also considered a
urinary tract infection, an infection that begins in
the urinary system. Urinary tract infection can be
painful and annoying. They can also become a serious
health problem if they spread to your kidneys.
The urinary system is composed of two kidneys,
ureters, bladder and urethra. All play a different
role in removing waste from your body. The kidneys, a
pair of bean-shaped organs in your upper-posterior
abdomen, filter waste from the blood. Tubes called
ureters carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder,
where it is stored until it exits your body through
The two main types of bladder infections are:
bladder infections. These infections occur
when people who aren't hospitalized develop a
bladder infection. This condition is common in
women between the ages of 30 and 50, but is rare
in men of the same age. However, men over 50 may
be at risk of this type of infection because of
prostate enlargement, a common condition in older
men that can block urine flow.
- Hospital-acquired, or
nosocomial bladder infections. These
infections occur in people under hospital care.
They mostly occur in those who have had a catheter
placed through the urethra and into the bladder to
collect urine, a common procedure done before some
surgical procedures or for some diagnostic tests.
Nosocomial bladder infections commonly occur when
a temporary or permanent catheter is placed in a
person who is unable to void spontaneously.
Bladder Infection Signs
Not everyone with a bladder infection develops
signs and symptoms, but most people will have some.
These may include:
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Strong, persistent urge to urinate
- Low grade fever
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
- A feeling of pressure in the lower abdomen
- Passing cloudy or strong-smelling urine
In young children, new episodes of bed-wetting may
also be a sign of a urinary tract infection.
Urinary tract infections typically occur when
bacteria enter the urinary tract from the outside,
usually through the urethra, and begin to multiply.
The urinary system is designed to keep out such
microscopic invaders. Urine also has antibacterial
properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria.
However, certain factors increase the chances that
bacteria will take hold and multiply into a full-blown
Cystitis is often referred to as honeymoon cystitis
because this bladder infection commonly occurs in
women as a result of sexual intercourse. During sexual
activity, bacteria are introduced into the bladder
through the urethra. But even sexually inactive girls
and women are susceptible to lower urinary tract
infections because the anus, a constant source of
bacteria, is so close to the female urethra.
More than 90 percent of cystitis cases are caused
by Escherichia coli (E. coli), a species of
bacteria commonly found in the rectal area. According
to a study in the New
England Journal of Medicine (Oct. 4, 2001), a new strain of
antibiotic-resistant E. coli may be the cause
of an increase in hard-to-treat urinary tract
infections in women.
Treatment for Bladder Infection
The over prescribed antibiotics
are the first line of treatment for community-acquired
bladder infections. Which drugs are used and for how
long depends on your health condition and the bacteria
found in your urine test. The drugs most
commonly recommended for simple urinary tract
infections include amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin,
nitrofurantoin, and others. Make sure your doctor is
aware of any other drugs you're taking or any
allergies you might have.
Usually, symptoms clear up within a few days of
treatment. However, you'll likely need to stay on
antibiotics for 3 days to a week, depending on the
severity of your infection. No matter what the length
of treatment, take the entire course of antibiotics
recommended by your doctor to ensure that the
infection is completely eradicated.
If you have recurrent urinary tract infections,
your doctor may recommend longer antibiotic treatment
or refer you to a urologist or nephrologist for an
evaluation to see if urologic abnormalities may be
causing the infections. For women, taking a single
dose of antibiotic treatment each time after sexual
intercourse may be helpful.
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine (Oct.
4, 2001), hard-to-treat urinary tract infections in
women may be caused by a new strain of
antibiotic-resistant E. coli. This strain of
bacteria may be resistant to antibiotics commonly used
to treat cystitis. Because of this, different types of
antibiotics and alternative treatment approaches may
Hospital-acquired bladder infections can be a
challenge to treat because bacteria found in hospitals
are often resistant to the main types of antibiotics
used to treat community-acquired bladder infections.
For that reason, different types of antibiotics and
different treatment approaches may be needed.
Bladder infections can be quit painful, some
helpful tips may include a heating pad placed over the
abdomen, drink plenty of fluids and avoid all
caffeine, alcohol, citrus juice beverages and spicy foods.
documentation to what we believe to be a safe and
effective natural alterative to prescribed medication
for the treatment of bladder infections.