A bladder infection (cystitis) is very annoying. Urinating hurts and is accompanied by a burning sensation in the lower abdomen. Furthermore, sometimes one cannot hold the urine (incontinence). Fever or a feverish feeling is also a common complaint. A bladder infection can have many causes. It usually concerns an ascending infection from the urethra. During pregnancy, the risk of a bladder infection is many times greater. The danger of renal pelvic infection due to a spreading infection is always lurking.
- What is bladder infection (cystitis)
- Chronic bladder infection
- Acute cystitis is common
- Treatment of bladder infection
What is bladder infection (cystitis)
Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder wall and is also called a lower urinary tract infection. The inflammation is almost always caused by intestinal bacteria, especially Escherichia coli . This infection is more common in women, whose urethra is shorter than in men. About half of all women will suffer from a bladder infection at least once in their lives.
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The E. coli or E. coli bacteria attaches to the bladder wall and causes all kinds of unpleasant symptoms. In men with a bladder infection, an infection of the prostate (prostatitis) is often the underlying cause. Anatomical abnormalities can also result in chronic bladder infections.
Chronic bladder infection
An acute bladder infection is characterized by severe pain before and after urination. Sometimes there is some blood in the urine. Fever is usually a sign that not only the bladder is affected. Often there is a kidney infection or an inflamed prostate. With a chronic bladder infection, the bladder complaints are usually less pronounced. Usually the symptoms point to the primary cause. Further research is therefore carried out, such as a cystoscopy and X-ray examination.
In many cases, chronic cystitis is the result of:
- Chronic renal pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Bladder retention (urine remains in the bladder after urination).
- A urethral or ureteric stricture.
- Prolapse (in women).
- Bladder polyps.
- Prostate enlargement.
- Bladder stones.
- Kidney stones.
- Diabetes mellitus.
The symptoms are usually very pronounced, such as:
- Pain or burning sensation when urinating.
- Pain below the navel, radiating to the lower back.
- Frequent urination (small amounts) or unnecessary urges.
- Sometimes mild incontinence.
- Sometimes cloudy urine, which smells strongly.
- Blood in the urine.
- Possible vague complaints that indicate that the cystitis is chronic.
- Nausea and fever, which usually indicate an upper urinary tract infection (ascending) after a cystitis.
Acute cystitis is common
In addition to the causes mentioned, the most common cause is an infection by intestinal bacteria, such as Escherichia coli . From an anatomical point of view, this bacteria can reach the bladder more easily and quickly in women. It is often poor intimate hygiene that causes an acute bladder infection and can be effectively treated with antibiotics.
Other promoting causes of cystitis include:
- Not drinking enough.
- Hold your pee.
- Pregnancy (due to bladder retention due to expanding uterus).
- Menopause (estrogen deficiency).
- The aforementioned ‘poor’ intimate hygiene.
- Reduced resistance (general malaise).
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Women in particular often suffer from bladder infections. Sexual intercourse is a major risk factor, even if sex is performed with a condom. During pregnancy, the risk of contracting cystitis is even more striking. The bladder then becomes trapped, so to speak, by the uterus. This is the cause of a so-called retention bladder, where some urine remains after urination.
Drink plenty of fluids
. In addition, the urine of pregnant women is more concentrated due to all kinds of excreted substances, including hormones and mineral salts. The motto is to drink a lot and empty the bladder as best as possible. A bladder infection during pregnancy can eventually become dangerous if the infection rises and causes a kidney infection.
Treatment of bladder infection
There are often underlying causes of a bladder infection. When you visit your GP, a urine test (culture) will usually be done and antibiotics will be prescribed. Often the bladder infection is not an isolated incident and the doctor suspects more problems. Sometimes a cystoscopy is then performed, for example if there may be a stricture. Or if blood remains in the urine after treatment, which may indicate a tumor. An ultrasound of the kidneys is also often done.
Prescribing hormone preparations is a possibility for women in menopause. Both cranberry juice and cranberry capsules or pills have a preventive effect. Due to the active substance – polyphenols – in the cranberry, bacteria adhere less well to the bladder wall and fewer recurrences occur.
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