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A bladder infection is a common type of urinary tract infection. It is the result of an invasion of bacteria into the bladder. A bladder infection is also sometimes called cystitis, although cystitis is a general term for an inflammation of the bladder that can occur without a bacterial infection.
The bladder is a muscular organ of the urinary tract whose function is to temporarily store urine until it is expelled from the body through the urethra. Normally, the bladder, urethra and the rest of the urinary tract, including the urine, ureters and the kidneys, are sterile. This means that they contain no bacteria or other microorganisms. However, bacteria can get into the bladder from outside the body through the urethra. Bacteria can also come from other parts of the body that are infected by spreading through the bloodstream into the urinary tract.
A bladder infection results in symptoms that typically include burning with urination, difficulty urinating, an urge to urinate frequently, and bloody urine. Symptoms may vary between individuals in character and intensity. For more information on symptoms, refer to symptoms of bladder infection.
Bladder infections can lead to potentially serious, even life-threatening complications in some people, especially of left untreated. These include pyelonephritis, kidney damage, sepsis and problems with a pregnancy, such premature birth and having a low birth weight baby.
Bladder infections occur more commonly in women than in men, because the urethra in women is shorter than a man's. This makes it easier for bacteria to get into the female bladder. Women who are sexually active, who use diaphragms for birth control, and/or are past menopause are at an increased risk for a bladder infection.
Certain other populations are also at a higher risk for developing bladder infections. They include older adults and the elderly and people with a history of kidney stones, kidney disease, or chronic conditions that affect the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS and diabetes. People who have an indwelling catheter in their bladder are also at risk.
Making a diagnosis of a bladder infection begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination. It also includes performing a urinalysis test, which checks for the presence of pus, white blood cells, and bacteria in the urine, which point to a bladder infection. A urine culture and sensitivity is usually performed to find the exact microorganism that is causing the infection and to determine the most effective antibiotic to treat it.
A diagnosis of a bladder infection can easily be missed or delayed in older populations. This is because some symptoms, such as fatigue and weakness, may not be noticed or might be associated with aging. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of bladder infection.
Mild bladder infections that are not accompanied with complications, such as pyelonephritis, are generally treated with oral antibiotic medications. People are also encouraged to drink plenty of water to help flush bacteria out of the bladder. The prognosis and the chance for a cure without complications are good for people who are generally healthy.
More serious infections, such as those in people with HIV/AIDS or in the elderly, may require hospitalization, especially if there are complications, such as sepsis. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of bladder infections....more »
People who are young or middle-aged are often diagnosed and treated quickly with a bladder infection. This is because the symptoms are often so painful and/or inconvenient that they seek prompt medical care.
However, in the elderly population, symptoms of a bladder infection can be easily overlooked, delaying a diagnosis. Elderly people with a bladder ...more misdiagnosis »
The following medical conditions are some of the possible
causes of Bladder infection.
There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor
about your symptoms.
Home medical tests possibly related to Bladder infection:
Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Bladder infection, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.
The first step in treating a bladder infection is prevention. Prevention measures include drinking plenty of fluids, urinating as soon as possible when the urge is felt, and drinking cranberry juice, which may have infection-fighting qualities.
For women, prevention measure include urinating promptly after having sexual intercourse, wiping the genital area ...Bladder infection Treatments
Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Bladder infection may include:
Review further information on Bladder infection Treatments.
Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Bladder infection may include:
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Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Bladder infection may include these symptoms:
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Read more about causes and Bladder infection deaths.
Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely to cause some level of diarrhea in patients. The reason is that antibiotics kill off not only "bad"...read more »
Interstitial cystitis an under-diagnosed bladder condition: The medical condition of interstitial cystitic is a bladder condition that can be misdiagnosed as various conditions such as overactive bladder or other causes of pelvic pain. This condition can cause...read more »
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The list below shows some of the causes of Bladder infection mentioned in various sources:
This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Bladder infection. Of the 10 causes of Bladder infection that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:
The following list of conditions have 'Bladder infection' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
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The following list of medical conditions have Bladder infection or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
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This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Bladder infection based
on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:
Medical Conditions associated with Bladder infection:
Bladder symptoms (1010 causes), Urinary problems (1033 causes), Digestive symptoms (5299 causes), Abdominal symptoms (5930 causes), Urinary difficulty (648 causes), Urinary symptoms (1228 causes), Sexual symptoms (1838 causes), Intercourse symptoms (258 causes), Lower abdominal symptoms (3048 causes)
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