Bladder infection – also known as urinary tract infection or UTI – is a medical condition wherein inflammation occurs on the bladder or urethra. It’s the second most common infection of the human body. The bladder is an organ that holds urine before being taken out of the body. The urethra is the tube where urine flows out of the body.
Symptoms of Bladder Infection
The most common signs and symptoms of UTI or bladder infection is a stabbing, sharp pain on the lower abdomen when peeing. The pain is followed by a burning sensation and cloudy, foul-smelling urine. Other symptoms are recurring fever, pelvic pain, and frequent urination. If severe symptoms like nausea, vomiting and chills occur, take the patient to the hospital immediately.
Common Causes of Bladder Infection
The urine is sterile, it’s free from microbes that cause infection. Usually, UTI is caused by the bacteria called Escherichia coli, better known as E. coli. This bacteria is present in the colon and the anus. Improper wiping of the anus during defecation could cause the bacteria to travel into the bladder.
The act of urinating may flush the microbes out, but it’s not enough to eliminate the bacteria completely. And when there’s an overgrowth of E. coli in the bladder, it leads to infection. If the infection reaches the kidneys, it could lead to a serious condition called pyelonephritis or kidney infection.
Sexual intercourse is also the most common cause of bladder infection. Just like wiping improperly, sexual intercourse can trigger the migration of E. coli bacteria into the urethra or bladder, causing infection. To reduce the risk of a bladder infection, make it a point to urinate after sexual intercourse.
Drugs and Medical Conditions
Certain types of medical issues can increase the risk of UTI. These medical issues include kidney stones, spinal cord injuries, and bladder decompensation after menopause.
Patients with a very weak immune system are also prone to developing bladder infections. Diabetics, cancer patients and those with HIV/AIDS have a higher risk of contracting urinary tract infections, along with other issues related to the urinary tract. Cancer patients take immunosuppressant medications like chemotherapy. These drugs compromise the body’s immune system, making the patient susceptible to infections of all kinds.
Men with an enlarged prostate are prone to urinary tract infection because the condition does not allow complete emptying of the bladder. That’s why UTI is common in older men. A male’s urethra is longer than a female’s. There is a drier environment where a male’s urethra meets the outside world. And this can increase the risk of bacteria entering the system.
How to Minimize the Risk of Bladder Infection
Drink More Water
Drinking more water allows the bladder to rid itself of more bacteria. The added fluid will dilute the urine and flush out the bacteria through urination.
Always wear clean underwear made from cotton and observe proper wiping. After sexual intercourse, clean yourself up to discourage bacterial infection.
Do not Hold Pee In
Never hold your pee in. If you have to go, hustle to urinate. Holding your pee in will push microbes deeper into the bladder.