bladder infections
infections of bladder





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bladder infections
Welcome to frequent bladder infections info source about bladder infections

bladderThe bladder is a hollow organ in your lower abdomen that stores urine. Many conditions can affect bladder function. Some common ones are:

  • Infection - a urinary tract infection in the bladder is also known as cystitis
  • Urinary incontinence - loss of bladder control
  • Interstitial cystitis - a chronic problem in which the bladder becomes inflamed and irritated, leading to frequent or painful urination
  • Bladder cancer - the sixth most common cancer in the United States

Doctors diagnose bladder diseases using different tests. These include urine tests, x-rays and examination of the bladder wall with a scope called a cystoscope. Treatment varies depending on the cause of the problem. It may include medicines and, in severe cases, surgery.

The urinary system consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Infections of the urinary tract (UTIs) are the second most common type of infection in the body. You may have a UTI if you notice

  • Pain or burning when you use the bathroom
  • Fever, tiredness or shakiness
  • An urge to use the bathroom often
  • Pressure in your lower belly
  • Urine that smells bad or looks cloudy or reddish
  • Less frequently, nausea or back pain

If you think you have a UTI, it is important to see your doctor. Your doctor can tell if you have a UTI by testing a sample of your urine. Treatment with drug store prescription meds can kill the infection and make you better, often in 2 days.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney - The urinary system consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Infections of the urinary tract (UTIs) are the second most common type of infection in the body. You may have a UTI if you notice

  • Pain or burning when you use the bathroom
  • Fever, tiredness or shakiness
  • An urge to use the bathroom often
  • Pressure in your lower belly
  • Urine that smells bad or looks cloudy or reddish
  • Less frequently, nausea or back pain

If you think you have a UTI, it is important to see your doctor. Your doctor can tell if you have a UTI by testing a sample of your urine. Treatment with medicines to kill the infection will make it better, often in one or two days.

What causes UTIs?

Most UTIs are caused by bacteria that live in the bowel. The bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli) causes most UTIs. The urinary tract has several systems to prevent infection. The points where the ureters attach to the bladder act like one-way valves to prevent urine from backing up toward the kidneys, and urination washes microbes out of the body. In men, the prostate gland produces secretions that slow bacterial growth. In both sexes, immune defenses also prevent infection. But despite these safeguards, infections still occur.

Who gets UTIs?

People of any age or sex can get UTIs. But about four times as many women get UTIs as men. Women have a shorter urethra, which makes it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder. Also, the opening of a woman’s urethra is near the vagina and anus, where bacteria live. Women who use a diaphragm are also more likely to get UTIs than women who use other forms of birth control.

Others at higher risk for UTIs are people

  • with diabetes or problems with the body’s natural defense system
  • who need a tube to drain their bladder
  • with urinary tract abnormalities that block the flow of urine
  • with spinal cord injuries or other nerve damage

Are UTIs serious?

Most UTIs are not serious, but some infections can lead to serious problems. Chronic kidney infections—infections that recur or last a long time—can cause permanent damage, including kidney scars, poor kidney function, high blood pressure, and other problems. Some acute kidney infections—infections that develop suddenly—can be life threatening, especially if the bacteria enter the bloodstream, a condition called septicemia.

What are the disease causes and symptoms of a UTI?

You should see your health care provider if you have any of these signs or symptoms:

  • a burning feeling when you urinate
  • frequent or intense urges to urinate, even when you have little urine to pass
  • pain in your back or side below the ribs
  • cloudy, dark, bloody, or foul-smelling urine
  • fever or chills

How are UTIs diagnosed?

Health care providers diagnose UTIs by asking about your symptoms and then testing a sample of your urine. Your urine will be checked with a microscope for bacteria and white blood cells, which the body produces to fight infection. Because bacteria can be found in the urine of healthy people, a UTI is diagnosed based both on symptoms and a lab test. Your urine will be checked with a microscope for bacteria and white blood cells.

If you have repeat kidney or bladder infections or are in the hospital, your urine may be cultured. The culture is performed by placing part of the urine sample in a tube or dish with a substance that encourages any bacteria present to grow. Once the bacteria have multiplied, which usually takes 1 to 3 days, they can be identified. Your health care provider may also order a sensitivity test, which tests the bacteria for sensitivity to different antibiotics to see which medicine is best for treating the infection.

If you have repeat infections, your health care provider may also order one or more tests to see if your urinary tract is normal.

Kidney and bladder ultrasound - Ultrasound uses a device, called a transducer, that bounces safe, painless sound waves off organs to create an image of their structure. The procedure is performed in a health care provider’s office, outpatient center, or hospital by a specially trained technician, and the images are interpreted by a radiologist—a doctor who specializes in medical imaging; anesthesia is not needed. The images can show abnormalities in the kidneys and bladder. However, this test cannot reveal all important urinary abnormalities or measure how well the kidneys work.

Voiding cystourethrogram - This test is an x-ray image of the bladder and urethra taken while the bladder is full and during urination, also called voiding. As you lie on the x-ray table, a health care provider inserts the tip of a thin, flexible tube called a catheter through your urethra into your bladder. Your bladder and urethra are filled with a special dye, called contrast medium, to make the structures clearly visible on the x-ray images. The x rays are taken from various angles while your bladder is full of contrast medium. The catheter is then removed and x-ray images are taken during urination. The procedure is performed in a health care provider’s office, outpatient center, or hospital by an x-ray technician. The technician is supervised by a radiologist while the images are taken. The radiologist then interprets the images. Anesthesia is not needed, but light sedation may be used if you need it. This test can show abnormalities of the inside of your urethra and bladder. The test can also determine whether the flow of urine is normal when your bladder empties.

Computerized tomography (CT) scan - CT scans use a combination of x-rays and computer technology to create three-dimensional (3-D) images. A CT scan may include the injection of contrast medium. CT scans require you to lie on a table that slides into a tunnel-shaped device where the x-rays are taken. The procedure is performed in an outpatient center or hospital by an x-ray technician, and the images are interpreted by a radiologist; anesthesia is not needed. CT scans can provide clearer, more detailed images to help the health care provider understand the problem.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - MRI machines use radio waves and magnets to produce detailed pictures of your body’s internal organs and soft tissues without using x rays. An MRI may include an injection of contrast medium. With most MRI machines, you lie on a table that slides into a tunnel-shaped device that may be open ended or closed at one end; some newer machines are designed to allow you to lie in a more open space. The procedure is performed in an outpatient center or hospital by a specially trained technician, and the images are interpreted by a radiologist; anesthesia is not needed though light sedation may be used if you have a fear of confined spaces. Like CT scans, MRIs can provide clearer, more detailed images.

Radionuclide scan - A radionuclide scan is an imaging technique that relies on the detection of small amounts of radiation after injection of radioactive chemicals. Because the dose of the radioactive chemicals is small, the risk of causing damage to cells is low. Special cameras and computers are used to create images of the radioactive chemicals as they pass through your kidneys. Radionuclide scans are performed in a health care provider’s office, outpatient center, or hospital by a specially trained technician, and the images are interpreted by a radiologist; anesthesia is not needed. Radioactive chemicals injected into your blood can provide information about your kidney function. Radioactive chemicals can also be put into the fluids used to fill your bladder and urethra for x ray, MRI, and CT imaging.

Urodynamics - Urodynamic testing is any procedure that looks at how well your bladder, sphincters, and urethra are storing and releasing urine. Most of these tests are performed in the office of a urologist —a doctor who specializes in urinary problems—by a urologist, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner. Some procedures may require light sedation to keep you calm. Most urodynamic tests focus on your bladder’s ability to hold urine and empty steadily and completely. Urodynamic tests can also show whether your bladder is having abnormal contractions that cause leakage. A health care provider may order these tests if there is evidence that you have some kind of nerve damage.

Cystoscopy - Cystoscopy is a procedure that uses a tubelike instrument to look inside the urethra and bladder. Cystoscopy is performed by a doctor in a health care provider’s office, outpatient facility, or hospital with local anesthesia. However, in some cases, sedation and regional or general anesthesia are needed. Cystoscopy may be used to look for swelling, redness, and other signs of infection.

How are UTIs treated?

UTIs are treated with antibiotics that can kill the bacteria causing the infection. The antibiotic prescribed will depend on the type of bacteria causing your UTI. Some antibiotics may be ruled out if you have allergies to them. Tell your health care provider if you are allergic to any medicines.

You may need to take antibiotics for a few days or for 7 days or longer. The length of treatment depends on a few factors:

  • how severe the infection is
  • whether you were given the right antibiotic at first
  • whether the bacteria resists the antibiotic
  • whether you have repeat infections
  • whether you have a urinary tract abnormality that blocks the flow of urine
  • whether you are male or female; men may need longer treatment because bacteria can hide deep inside prostate tissue

Follow your health care provider’s instructions carefully and completely when taking antibiotics.

Drinking lots of fluids and urinating frequently will speed healing. If needed, you may take various medicines to relieve the pain of a UTI. A heating pad on the back or abdomen may also help.

Will UTIs come back?

For most people, the answer is no. But about one out of every five young women who have a UTI will have another one. Some women have three or more UTIs a year. Men are less likely than women to have a first UTI. But once a man has a UTI, he is likely to have another because bacteria can hide deep inside prostate tissue. Anyone who has diabetes or a problem that makes it hard to urinate may have repeat infections.

If you have repeat infections, your health care provider may refer you to a urologist. Talk with your health care provider or urologist about special treatment plans. For example, you may need to take antibiotics for a longer period of time to help prevent repeat infections. Some patients with frequent UTIs are given a supply of antibiotics to be started at the first sign of infection. Make sure you understand and follow the instructions your health care provider or urologist gives you.

How can I prevent repeat UTIs?

In addition to taking antibiotics, changing some of your daily habits and lifestyle choices may help you prevent repeat UTIs.

Eating, Diet, and Nutrition

Drinking lots of fluid can help flush bacteria from your system. Water works best. Most people should try for 6 to 8, eight-ounce glasses a day. But do not drink this much if you have kidney failure. Check with your health care provider to learn how much fluid is healthy for you.

Bathroom Habits

Urinate often and when you first feel the urge. Bacteria can grow when urine stays in the bladder too long. Urinate shortly after sex to flush away bacteria that might have entered your urethra during sex. Drinking a glass of water will also help flush bacteria away.

After using the toilet, always wipe from front to back. This step is most important after a bowel movement to keep from getting bacteria into the urethra.

Clothing

Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes so air can keep the area around the urethra dry. Avoid nylon underwear and tight-fitting jeans, which can trap moisture and help bacteria grow.

Birth Control

For women, using a diaphragm or spermicide for birth control can lead to UTIs by increasing bacteria growth. If you have trouble with UTIs, try switching to a new form of birth control. Unlubricated condoms or spermicidal condoms increase irritation, which may help bacteria grow. Consider switching to lubricated condoms without spermicide or using a non spermicidal lubricant.

Points to Remember

  • A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in the urinary tract. Infections are caused by microbes - organisms too small to be seen without a microscope.
  • The urinary tract is the body’s drainage system for removing wastes and extra water.
  • Bacteria that live in the digestive tract, in the vagina, or around the urethra are the most common cause of UTIs.
  • You should see your health care provider if you have any of these signs or symptoms:

    • a burning feeling when you urinate
    • frequent or intense urges to urinate, even when you have little urine to pass
    • pain in your back or side below the ribs
    • cloudy, dark, bloody, or foul-smelling urine
    • fever or chills

  • Health care providers diagnose UTIs by asking about your symptoms and then testing a sample of your urine for bacteria.
  • If you have repeat infections or are in the hospital, your urine may be cultured. The culture is performed by placing part of the urine sample in a tube or dish with a substance that encourages any bacteria present to grow.
  • If you have repeat chronic bladder infection, your health care provider can order medical tests to see if your urinary tract is normal.

    • kidney and bladder ultrasound
    • voiding cystourethrogram
    • computerized tomography (CT) scan
    • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    • radionuclide scan
    • urodynamics
    • cystoscopy

  • UTIs are treated with antibiotics that can kill the bacteria causing the infection. The antibiotic prescribed will depend on the type of bacteria causing your UTI.
  • About one out of every five young women who have a UTI will have another one. Some women have three or more UTIs a year.
  • Men are less likely than women to have a first UTI. But once a man has a UTI, he is likely to have another because bacteria can hide deep inside prostate tissue.
  • Anyone who has diabetes or a problem that makes it hard to urinate may have repeat infections.
  • Changing some of your daily habits and lifestyle choices may help you prevent repeat UTIs.
 
 
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