What is a Bladder Infection?
A bladder infection is the most common type of urinary tract infection (UTI) and occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract, eventually causing the bladder to be inflamed. These bacteria – often E. Coli – are usually found in the bowel and on the skin between the anus and the perineum. Although harmless there, E.Coli thrives on the acidity of urine and causes an infection. A bladder infection is not infectious but if you have had one once, you may well get one again.
Who is more at risk of a bladder infection?
You are at greater risk of getting a bladder infection is greater if you have:
- Kidney, or bladder stones.
• A condition, such as diabetes mellitus.
• A urinary catheter (a tube that runs through the bladder to the urethra).
• Problems completely emptying your bladder. This is more common in post-menopausal women and older men.
Women are most likely to suffer from bladder infections
Women are more prone to UTI’s than men. This because their urethra is shorter and nearer to the anus.
What are the symptoms of a bladder infection?
You may have a bladder infection if you have the following symptoms:
- Pain or burning sensation when peeing.
• Peeing frequently but always in smaller quantities.
• The urge to pee can hurt.
• Pain in the back or lower abdomen.
• Cloudy or smelly urine or urine with traces of blood.
• Possibly signs of an increase in temperature.
• Feeling tired and unwell, and possibly confused and agitated if elderly
Testing for a bladder infection
You should consult your GP or practice nurse and request a test. If you have had a bladder infection before another urine test is not always necessary.
Advice and Tips
If you have a bladder infection, it is important that you drink a lot of water, about 1.5 – 2 litres a day. This dilutes the urine and ensures that waste is rapidly flushed away, painkillers can be used if necessary.
In the case of severe symptoms that last longer than a week, antibiotics will cause the bladder inflammation to heal more quickly. This also reduces the risk of inflammation extending to the kidneys.
When you start a course of antibiotics, you should always complete it, otherwise, bacteria may be left in the bladder and start a new infection. In some cases, the symptoms will continue until a few days after the completion of the course. However, they will usually disappear after a few days.