A bladder infection, also known as acute cystitis, is the most common type of urinary tract infection. A bacterial infection starts in the urinary tract. Urine in the bladder is normally sterile, and there are no bacteria present in it. However, the vaginal and penile area are suitable for bacterial growth. Sometimes bacteria reach the inner parts of the body and travels into the bladder. Women are more prone to urinary infections, because their urethra is much shorter and it is easier for bacteria to get into the bladder.
Signs and symptoms of bladder infection
Patients with bladder infections often feel the urge to go to the bathroom more frequently. The urge may be very strong and sometimes painful. There is also a lot of pain and burning sensation present during the urination. Urine may also have a strange smell and cloudy appearance. In more severe cases, infection is followed by fever. This usually happens when the infection spreads all over to the kidneys. Inflammation of kidneys may sometimes provoke vomiting.
The other symptoms include lower abdomen discomfort, pelvic pressure, chills, lethargy, loss of appetite and nonspecific mood swings.
Causes of bladder infection
Escherichia coli causes around 90% of all urinary tract infections. This bacteria is normally present in the body, it sometimes colonizes urethra and spread through the urinary tract all over to the bladder and kidneys. Women are 14 times more likely to get bladder infection caused by Escherichia coli. The poor hygiene and unprotected sexual intercourse may also contribute to Escherichia coli infections.
Certain health conditions may also cause bladder infections. Abnormalities in the urinary tract, such as, kidney stones, may also obstruct the flow of urine and increase the risks of bladder infections. The stones may cause the inflammation of the urinary tract and create the suitable environment for bacteria.
Bladder infections are also common in patients with compromised immune systems, such as people suffering from diabetes or AIDS. Those who use immunosuppressant drugs are also at a higher risk.
A common source of bladder infection is catheters, or tubes, placed in the urethra and bladder. When urinary catheter stays in place for a long time, bacteria start to grow in it. When the number of bacteria becomes extremely large the bladder infection occurs. This kind of bladder infections is especially hard to cure.
There is some evidence about possible genetically predisposition to bladder infection. However, this hypothesis is still being examined and there is no firm scientific confirmation to support it yet.