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 urethra.
The two main types of bladder infections are:
- Community-acquired 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 and Symptoms
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.
Causes of Bladder 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 infection.
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 be necessary.
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.
We've provided documentation to what we believe to be a safe and effective natural alterative to prescribed medication for the treatment of bladder infections.