Symptoms of Bladder Infection in Women

The result of the inflammation or infection of the bladder, bladder infections or cystitis is one of the most common health problems affecting women today and accounts for nearly 6 million medical visits each year, by both men and women. Commonly referred to as the urinary tract infection (UTI), the major cause of the infection is the growth of bacteria in the bladder, which enters through the urethra. It is estimated by the National Kidney Foundation that nearly 10 to 20 percent of women have had at least one episode of cystitis, with 80% of the cases having recurring episodes of the infection. While some may be caused by fungus or virus, the major cause of bladder infections is the bacterial growth.

The growth of the escherichia coli (E.coli) bacteria and others such as staphylococcus saprophyticus, klebsiella, enterobacter, and proteus species, are the contributing causes for bladder infections. So why are some women more prone to the infection than others? The causes are numerous, from an increased sexual activity to poor hygiene habits. The risk increases with infections in the genitourinary system, stress, excess alcohol consumption or an illness which results in lowered resistance. Another possible cause is the use of a diaphragm that uses spermicide, for it suppresses the normal vaginal bacteria and allows bacteria that cause cystitis to flourish in the vagina. Here is a look at the primary symptoms of bladder infection in women and their severity.

Female Bladder Infection Symptoms

The most common signs of the onset of bladder infection is the frequent, urgent and painful urination. This is accompanied by a pain in the abdomen, over the bladder and lower back. The other telltale bladder infection symptoms of the infection are:

    Blood in the urine.
Low fever.
Foul-smelling urine.
Painful sexual intercourse.
Lack of urinary control, especially at night.
Bed-wetting or fever and irritability in a child.

The symptoms may range from mild to severe, with most of the symptoms of cystitis disappearing without treatment. However in a case where the infection spreads upward into the kidneys, symptoms such as intense back pain, chills, nausea, high fever and diarrhea are produced. Similarly for people with a bladder malfunction due to nerve damage, no symptoms of the infection are produced until a kidney infection or an unexplained fever develops.

Based on the symptoms and the patient’s medical history, the doctor may diagnose a bladder infection. Usually a physical examination is done and a mid-stream urine specimen is collected to identify the evidence of inflammation, and the type of bacteria causing the infection. Although a majority of the mild cases are resolved without treatment, antibiotics may be prescribed to hasten the process. To relieve the pain, medications such as antispasmodics or urinary analgesics may be prescribed. The doctor might also advise an increase in the fluid intake, especially cranberry juice, which has shown to help prevent the infection.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol and instead, drink 6 to 8 glasses of water. You can also incorporate other preventive measures, like keeping the vaginal area clean and wearing cotton undergarments, which allow for air circulation and discourage the warm, moist environment needed for bacterial growth. It is important that adequate treatment is received, as soon as the symptoms of bladder infection in women have manifested themselves. This would allow you to avoid causing chronic tract infections, which can even lead to a kidney failure.

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