Bladder infections are among the most commonly encountered medical conditions. About one out of every four people, mostly women, will experience at least one infection of the urinary tract in their lives. The bladder is the organ that collects and stores urine before excretion. Bladder infections, also known as cystitis, involve inflammation of the bladder in reaction to bacterial infection.
Bladder infections often present symptoms that are similar to those of other conditions of the urinary tract such as kidney infection and kidney stones. Symptoms of bladder infections can include issues with urinary function, pressure or discomfort in the midsection, along with some other general symptoms.
Bladder infections present a number of symptoms dealing with urinary function. According to the University of Pennsylvania Health System, a constant urge to urinate yielding small amounts of urine and burning during urination commonly appear with a bladder infection. Those affected may find themselves more frequently waking up in the middle of the night needing to urinate. It may also cause cloudy urine or blood in urine to develop.
According to the Duke University Health System, a urinary tract infection can also cause a low-grade fever, particularly in children and infants. Vomiting has also been found to be a frequently occurring symptom in young children.
Treatments of bladder infections are usually fairly simple. One of several antibiotics may be prescribed to be taken for at least a few days. While some infections may dissipate on their own, the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that antibiotics be used in most cases to prevent complications arising involving the infection spreading to the kidneys. This is especially true for cases involving children or seniors. In some cases of significant pain or burning during urination, a doctor may also prescribe something to ease the symptoms in addition to treating the condition.
Preventing bladder infection involves two main issues: hydration and hygiene. There are a number of natural remedies to treat or prevent bladder infections. The most popular of these treatments is drinking cranberry juice. In many cases, cranberry juice may be able to naturally prevent bacteria from infecting the urinary tract. With or without cranberry juice, staying well hydrated is the safest and easiest natural way to reduce the risk of bladder infection. The UM Medical Center points out that drinks containing alcohol and caffeine can actually irritate the bladder and should be avoided.
Maintaining good hygiene is also important in preventing bladder infection. Avoid marketed hygiene products – simple soap and water is ideal. Also, don’t go extended periods of time without urinating. Taking showers instead of baths also reduces the risk of infection.
Bladder infections are very common, especially among women, and while they are easily treated, they should not be taken for granted. If you ever suspect that you have a bladder infection or otherwise experience painful urination or blood in urine, consult your doctor for medical advice.
“Cystitis,” University of Maryland Medical Center
“Urinary Tract Infection,” University of Maryland Medical Center
“Urinary Tract Infection,” University of Pennsylvania Health System
“When to Worry About Urinary Tract Infections,” Duke University Health System