About bladder infection (cystitis)

What is bladder infection (cystitis)?

Bladder infection is an infection of the bladder. Bladder infection is also called cystitis and is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI). The urinary tract is naturally sterile and when microbes invade it, an infection may result.

The bladder is a part of the urinary tract system. It serves as storage for urine before it is excreted from the body. Urine is produced by the kidney and it travels through ureters (one from the right kidney and one from the left) to pass into the bladder. The urine can then be eliminated from the body when bladder is full. The bladder contracts to empty its contents outside through the urethra (the connection between the bladder and outside of the body). Urethra length traverses the length of the penis in males, thus it is longer than the urethra in females.

What are the symptoms for bladder infection (cystitis)?

Fuzziness symptom was found in the bladder infection (cystitis) condition

In young children, new episodes of accidental daytime wetting also may be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI). Nighttime bed-wetting on its own isn't likely to be associated with a UTI.

What are the causes for bladder infection (cystitis)?

Your urinary system — which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra — is responsible for removing waste from your body through urine. Your kidneys, located toward the back in your upper abdomen, produce urine by filtering waste and fluid from your blood. That urine then travels through your ureters to your bladder, where the urine is stored until you can eliminate it at an appropriate time.

Your urinary system includes your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. All play a role in removing waste from your body. Your kidneys — a pair of bean-shaped organs located toward the back of your upper abdomen — filter waste from your blood and regulate the concentrations of many substances. Tubes called ureters carry urine from your kidneys to the bladder, where it's stored until it exits your body through the urethra.

Bacterial cystitis

UTIs typically occur when bacteria outside the body enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply. Most cases of cystitis are caused by a type of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria.

Bacterial bladder infections may occur in women as a result of sexual intercourse. But even sexually inactive girls and women are susceptible to lower urinary tract infections because the female genital area often harbors bacteria that can cause cystitis.

Noninfectious cystitis

Although bacterial infections are the most common cause of cystitis, a number of noninfectious factors also may cause the bladder to become inflamed. Some examples include:

  • Interstitial cystitis. The cause of this chronic bladder inflammation, also called painful bladder syndrome, is unclear. Most cases are diagnosed in women. The condition can be difficult to diagnose and treat.
  • Drug-induced cystitis. Certain medications, particularly the chemotherapy drugs cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide, can cause inflammation of your bladder as the broken-down components of the drugs exit your body.
  • Radiation cystitis. Radiation treatment of the pelvic area can cause inflammatory changes in bladder tissue.
  • Foreign-body cystitis. Long-term use of a catheter can predispose you to bacterial infections and to tissue damage, both of which can cause inflammation.
  • Chemical cystitis. Some people may be hypersensitive to chemicals contained in certain products, such as bubble bath, feminine hygiene sprays or spermicidal jellies, and may develop an allergic-type reaction within the bladder, causing inflammation.
  • Cystitis associated with other conditions. Cystitis may sometimes occur as a complication of other disorders, such as diabetes, kidney stones, an enlarged prostate or spinal cord injuries.

What are the treatments for bladder infection (cystitis)?

Female gender is one of the main risk factors for bladder infection. Because of the short urethral length, bacteria can gain access to the bladder much easier than in males.

Pregnancy also increases susceptibility to bladder infection. In fact, some pregnant women may have some type of urinary infections, including bladder infection, during their pregnancy. Pressure applied to the urinary structures by an enlarging uterus of pregnancy can disrupt the natural flow of urine triggering a bladder infection.

In postmenopausal women, physiological factors (vaginal dryness, urinary incontinence, urinary retention, and prolapse of the pelvic organs) can potentially increase the chances of developing bladder infections. Sexual intercourse in women is another risk factor for bladder infection.

In men with prostate enlargement, bladder infection is also more common than in general male population. Prostate enlargement can lead to obstruction of the normal flow of urine out of the bladder and into the urethra. Residual urine can then become infected.

Elderly persons are also at higher risk of suffering bladder infection as are individuals who take medications that weaken the immune defense system.

Urinary catheters (Foley catheters) are another potential risk for bladder infection. These urinary catheters are typically used in settings where an individual may not be able to urinate naturally. Urinary catheters simply provide a physical vehicle to transport bacteria from outside directly into the bladder and the urinary system. Foley catheters are commonly used in patients with:

  • Severe illness
  • Limited mobility
  • Urinary incontinence (inability to hold their urine)
  • Bladder obstruction and urinary retention (prostate enlargement, urethral scarring, prostate cancer)
  • Bladder trauma
  • Bladder cancer
  • Bladder dysfunction due to neurologic conditions
  • Inability to get out of bed

Bladder infection is more commonly seen in patients with paralytic conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), stroke, and other diseases of the nervous system, than in the general public. In these and other similar neurologic diseases, bladder function may be impaired due to abnormal nervous system control of the bladder (neurogenic bladder). As a result, urine may be retained in the bladder and not completely emptied after voiding. Urinary retention can be a cause of bladder infection. Furthermore, if urinary retention becomes more serious causing pain and kidney dysfunction, Foley catheters may become necessary to empty the bladder and relieve the bladder pressure caused by excessive retention of urine. A catheter, in turn, can substantially increase the risk of bladder infection.

In addition to the Foley catheter, any instrumentation of the urinary tract or nearby structures can potentially lead to cystitis. Medical procedures (cystoscopy, bladder biopsy, prostate procedures), vaginal pessary, and IUD (intrauterine device) placement for birth control can pose an increased risk of developing bladder infection.

What are the risk factors for bladder infection (cystitis)?

Some people are more likely than others to develop bladder infections or recurrent urinary tract infections. Women are one such group. A key reason is physical anatomy. Women have a shorter urethra, which cuts down on the distance bacteria must travel to reach the bladder.

Women at greatest risk of UTIs include those who:

  • Are sexually active. Sexual intercourse can result in bacteria being pushed into the urethra.
  • Use certain types of birth control. Women who use diaphragms are at increased risk of a UTI. Diaphragms that contain spermicidal agents further increase your risk.
  • Are pregnant. Hormonal changes during pregnancy may increase the risk of a bladder infection.
  • Have experienced menopause. Altered hormone levels in postmenopausal women are often associated with UTIs.

Other risk factors in both men and women include:

  • Interference with the flow of urine. This can occur in conditions such as a stone in the bladder or, in men, an enlarged prostate.
  • Changes in the immune system. This can happen with certain conditions, such as diabetes, HIV infection and cancer treatment. A depressed immune system increases the risk of bacterial and, in some cases, viral bladder infections.
  • Prolonged use of bladder catheters. These tubes may be needed in people with chronic illnesses or in older adults. Prolonged use can result in increased vulnerability to bacterial infections as well as bladder tissue damage.

In men without any predisposing health issues, cystitis is rare.

Is there a cure/medications for bladder infection (cystitis)?

A bladder infection (cystitis), is an inflammation of the urinary bladder that usually results from when bacteria sneak into your urethra and make their way into your bladder and urinary tract, causing an infection to take hold there and making it very uncomfortable to pee.

The following are doctor's treatments of a bladder infection (cystitis) that focus on symptom management and preventive self-care treatment.

  • Staying hydrated and drinking cranberry juice can help reduce the symptoms of a bladder infection.
  • Cranberry juice is thought to help prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder walls.
  • Water and cranberry juice can also aid in the removal of bacteria from the bladder.
  • Antibiotics are the standard treatment for a bladder infection. Antibiotics like Bactrim or Flagyl are frequently prescribed, but they can have side effects.
  • Holding out urine for an extended time can increase the risk of urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Maintaining proper personal hygiene, such as cleaning well after passing bowel movements, after sexual intercourse, and avoiding the use of deodorants on sensitive areas, can help prevent bacteria from spreading.

Inflammation of the bladder,Potential to spread to other organs of the body,Kidney infections
Oral and intravenous antibiotics (Bactrim or Flagyl),Cranberry Juice
Frequent urination,Blood in the urine (hematuria),Abdominal pain,Bad smell of urine,Fever,Feeling unwell,Muddy urine,Burning sensation when urinating

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