What Causes Bladder Infections? Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms
Bladder infection is a common health issue that is experienced by many people worldwide. It is important to know what causes bladder infections so you would know how to prevent this from happening. But before we get into the causes of this infection and the urinary tract infection symptoms, let us first define what a bladder infection is.
What is a Bladder Infection?
A bladder infection is the bacterial infection of the bladder. The bladder is where your urine is stored. Sometimes, this infection is also called urinary tract infection since your urinary tract is composed of the kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra. When you have a bladder infection, you would frequently go to the bathroom to pee, but there will be a bit of discomfort when urinating because you will feel a burning or stinging sensation. The bladder becomes inflamed and irritated, which causes the symptoms.
Bladder infection affects more women than men. The symptoms are not that serious, but it can be very annoying. The usual treatment to get rid of bladder infection and urinary tract infection symptoms are antibiotics. Treating this infection right away is important because the bacteria might travel to the kidneys and cause more severe problems.
What Causes Bladder Infection?
When harmful bacteria, such as the E.coli bacteria, travels through the urethra and enters the bladder, it provides a very high risk of bladder infection. The defensive mechanism of the body kicks in and flushes the bacteria out of the bladder. However, there are instances when the bacteria attach to the wall of the bladder and multiply quickly. The body couldn’t handle the fast growth of these bacteria, which leads to a bladder infection.
According to some studies, what causes bladder infection is usually the Escherichia coli or E. coli. The E.coli bacteria reside mostly in the large intestine. It can enter the women’s urethra because the vagina is near the anus. Wiping from back to front after going to the bathroom can increase the risk of the E.coli bacteria from entering the urethra and into the bladder.
Pregnancy can also cause a bladder infection. When a woman is pregnant, the baby tends to press on the bladder, which prevents the bladder from completely emptying itself, thus causing an infection. A woman who has undergone menopause does not have enough hormone estrogen. With less amount of estrogen, it causes the thinning of the lining of the urethra. This leads to an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina, which leads to an infection. When men develop a bladder infection, it is usually caused by an enlarged prostate or a prostate infection. A bladder stone can also create a blockage, which prevents the bladder from completely emptying itself, thus causing an infection.
Other Factors that Increases the Risk of Bladder Infection:
- Frequent sexual intercourse
- Not urinating after sexual intercourse
- Using spermicide and diaphragm for birth control
- A bladder infection in the past 12 months
- Old age
- Low fluid intake
- Weak immune system
What causes bladder infection is mainly the bacteria, but there are also factors that can further increase the risk of infection. Knowing these factors can lessen the risk and help you understand more about your health condition. You can also prevent UTI by strengthening your immune system and practicing good hygiene.
Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms
Now that you know what causes bladder infections and the factors leading to this health issue, you should also have some knowledge about the urinary tract infection symptoms. These symptoms are not only annoying, but they can also affect your daily routine. The constant pain and burning sensation when urinating is an experience that no one wants to go through again. If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, it is a good idea to consult your healthcare provider and seek immediate treatment.
Urinating with a Sharp Pain and Burning Sensation
The burning sensation when urinating is very uncomfortable for everyone who has experienced urinary tract infection. This sharp pain that happens when peeing is called dysuria. The source of the pain is in the urethra and it is often caused by the bacteria and the acidity of the urine, which irritates the bladder and urethra lining. The bacteria damages the lining of the urethra and the bladder and the acidic urine comes in contact with the damaged lining, thus causing the sharp pain. It’s like pouring an alcohol over a cut or wound. However, if you experience the stinging pain only once and you did not feel it again on the next trip to the bathroom, then it means that the bacteria has already been flushed out. As soon as you feel any sharp pain, burning sensation, or any of the urinary tract infection symptoms, you should drink more water to flush out the bacteria and prevent the infection from developing further.
Frequent Trips to the Bathroom
As mentioned above, urinary tract infection symptoms can be very annoying. If you find yourself going to the bathroom to urinate more than 8 times in 24 hours, then you most probably have urinary tract infection. Sometimes, you would even wake up several times in the middle of the night just to urinate, which disrupts your sleeping pattern. Urinary tract infection leads to an overactive and irritable bladder, which makes you urinate more than the usual number. Another concern is that UTI can make you feel that you have a full bladder, but only a few dribbles will come out. The frequent trips to the bathroom and getting no relief are a sure sign of urinary tract infection.
Urine is Cloudy or Discolored
One of the urinary tract infection symptoms that you can easily see is the cloudy color of your urine. Usually, the normal color of urine is a clear yellow and lighter yellow, but if it is discolored, then there is something wrong. Cloudy colored urine is a sign of urinary tract infection. However, before worrying, you should take into account the food you ate in the last 24 hours. Sometimes, it is the food you eat or your medicine intake that can cause the discoloration of the urine, which is just normal and it will quickly pass.
Urine has Strong Bad Odor
Another very sure sign of urinary tract infection is the strong foul odor of your urine. Sometimes, it can be the food you eat that can change the odor of your urine, but if there are no recent changes in your diet or medication, then the foul odor may have been caused by the bacterial infection. When urine becomes sweet-smelling, it may be an indication of diabetes or a sudden increase in the blood glucose level. Your urine can be a good indication of your health. When there is discoloration and the odor is not normal, then there is a big possibility that bacteria have infected the urinary tract or the bladder.
Soreness in the Lower Back, Sides, and Abdomen
Urinary tract infection symptoms can bring soreness and pain to your body. If you experience the soreness in your back area, it indicates a kidney infection or pyelonephritis. You may also feel more pressure on the pelvic area and lower part of the abdomen, which is a sign of bladder infection or cystitis. For men, the infection of the urethra usually results in the irritation of the tip of the penis. Inflammation of the prostate gland due to urinary tract infection can lead to painful sensation in the lower back, testicles, penis, rectum, and the area between the anus and the scrotum. A kidney infection that causes back pain is a serious matter. Unlike ordinary muscle back pain, this kind of back pain does not go away regardless of your posture and position. Kidney infection is more severe than bladder infection and this will require immediate medical attention.
The Urge to Urinate is Harder to Control
Usually, you can hold your urge to pee long enough to go to the bathroom. An infection of the urinary tract can make the urge to pee harder to control. Leaks are more likely to happen when you have UTI because the muscles surrounding the bladder contracts even before the bladder is full, indicating that it is time to urinate.
Pink or Reddish Color of Your Urine
Seeing that your urine is has a tint of pink or red can be terrifying and worrisome for most people. This kind of discoloration on your urine means there is a presence of blood. This is also an indication that you may have urinary tract infection or kidney stones. When this happens, you should seek medical consultation immediately. The doctor would evaluate if the blood is a part of the urinary tract infection symptoms and they will need to rule out other conditions such as blockages, stones, and cancer.
Urinary tract infection symptoms can be seen and felt immediately. Fortunately, this health problem can be treated immediately. The physician will prescribe antibiotics that will kill the bacteria and cure the infection in a matter of days. If the infection is not treated, the bacteria can travel and spread into the kidneys, which will cause severe health complications such as vomiting, back pains, nausea, high fever, and chills.