General Illness Information
Medical Term: CYSTITIS IN FEMALES
Common Name: Bladder Infection
Description: A common problem in women who are otherwise healthy. Caused by inflammation or infection of the urinary bladder. It is particularly common during the reproductive years. 3-8% of women have bacteriuria at any given time and 30% of females have at least one urinary tract infection (UTI).
Causes: Commonest cause is bacteria in the vagina that travel to the urethra and into the bladder. In fact, women often develop bladder infection after engaging in sexual intercourse, probably as a result of the urethra being bruised during intercourse.
Rarely, recurrent bladder infections) may be caused by an abnormal connection between the bladder and the vagina (vesicovaginal fistula).
Other less common causes of bladder infection are listed below:
- Bacteria that reach the bladder from another part of the body through the bloodstream;
- Injury to the urethra;
- Use of a urinary catheter to empty the bladder, such as following childbirth or surgery.
- Take showers instead of tub baths;
- Drink 8 glasses of water every day. Avoid caffeine, which irritates the bladder;
- Avoid the use of catheters, if possible;
- Drink a glass of water before sexual intercourse, and urinate within 15 minutes after intercourse;
- Use female-superior or lateral positions in sexual intercourse to protect the female urethra from injury;
- Use a water-soluble lubricant such as K-Y Lubricating Jelly, during intercourse;
- Do not douche. Avoid feminine hygiene sprays or deodorants;
- Clean the anal area thoroughly after bowel movements. Wipe from the front to the rear rather than rear to front to avoid spreading fecal bacteria to the genital area;
- Use underwear and nylons that have cotton crotches;
- Avoid postponing urination.
Signs & Symptoms
- Burning or stinging on urination;
- Frequent urination, although the urine amount may be small;
- Increased urge to urinate;
- Bad-smelling urine;
- Pain in the abdomen over the bladder;
- Low back pain;
- Blood in urine;
- Low grade fever;
- Painful sexual intercourse;
- Lack of urinary control (sometimes);
- Bed-wetting child.
- Sitting in bath water that contains bath salts or bubble bath product;
- Loss of suspension of female organs (usually secondary to child birth and after menopause);
- Illness that has lowered resistance;
- Excess alcohol consumption;
- Wearing poorly ventilated underpants;
- Infection in other parts of the genitourinary system;
- Increased sexual activity. In women, the cause is often aggravated by bruising of the urethra during intercourse;
- Use of spermicides or diaphragm;
- Diabetes mellitus;
- Previous urinary tract infection.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Diagnostic tests may include urinalysis, careful urine collection for bacterial culture. Cystoscopy (examination of the bladder with a lighted optical instrument) and ultrasound in cases with history of recurrent infections.
- Maintain good hydration;
- Warm baths may help relieve discomfort;
- Preliminary studies indicate that Cranberry Juice (Vaccinium macrocarpon) may help prevent and treat UTIs by inhibiting bacterial adherence to bladder epithelium;
- Patients with chronic indwelling urinary catheters always have infections that should not be treated unless symptomatic with fever, sepsis, or other systemic symptoms.
- Antibiotics to fight infection;
- Antispasmodics to relieve pain;
- Occasionally, urinary analgesics for pain.
Avoid sexual intercourse until you have been free of symptoms to allow inflammation to subsides.
- Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily;
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol during treatment;
- Drink cranberry juice to acidify urine. Some drugs are more effective with acid urine. Also, preliminary studies show that cranberry juice inhibits bacterial adherence to bladder epithelium.
Possible Complications :
- Pyelonephritis (spread of the infection to the kidney);
- Renal abscess.
Symptoms resolve within 2-3 days after starting treatment in almost all patients. Recurrence is common.