Wednesday, 15 August 2018
Editor Choice Urinary Tract Infection

What causes a bladder infection

What causes a bladder infection ?


Bladder infection which is medically known as cystitis is a bacterial infection within the bladder. Bladder infection is also called urinary tract infection (UTI). UTI may involve any part of the urinary system (kidneys, bladder and urethra).

Most cases of bladder infections are of rapid onset (acute), others may be chronic. Early detection of the infection and treatment is very important to prevent the spread of the infection.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), Escherichia coli is the main reason for most bladder infections.


Risk factors for bladder infection


  1. Being woman is a major risk factor for bladder infection as:
  • Women have short and wider urethra than men (easier infection)
  • Female urethra is closer to the rectum -bacteria will travel short distance
  • In case of pregnant women : enlarged uterus obstruct the ureters causing secondary infection advanced age (impaired immunity)

2. Immobility (urinary stasis favors secondary bacterial infection)

3. Insufficient fluid intake (highly concentrated urine due to insufficient fluid intake favors bladder infection )

4. Surgical procedure within the urinary tract

5. Urinary catheter

6. Urinary obstruction of the bladder or urethra

7. Urinary tract abnormality -caused by birth defects or injuries

8. Urinary retention, refers to difficulty in emptying the bladder

9. Enlarged prostate obstructing the urethra

10. Diabetes (impaired immunity)


Women are more prone to bladder infection than men. However “bladder infection in men tend to recur after the first infection” says the NIDDK


Mode of transmission

Bacteria travel from the rectum to the bladder through the urethra then bacteria attach to the lining of the bladder causing bladder infection.


Causative organism

  • Escherichia coli is responsible for most bladder infections.
  • Escherichia coli is naturally present in the large intestine .
  • Other bacteria that cause bladder infection include chlamydia and mycoplasma. However these bacteria is typically transmitted through sextual intercourse.


What are the symptoms of bladder infection ?


The most common symptoms include:


  1. Change in urine color: cloudy or bloody urine
  2. Urinating more often than usual
  3. Foul-smelling urine
  4. Burning  urination –the most common symptom
  5. Urgency: a frequent sensation of having to urinate, which is called
  6. Cramping in the lower abdomen or lower back which means that the bladder infection has spread to the kidneys


How to prevent bladder infection ?


  1. Practice good hygiene:

It is advisable to wipe from front to back after using bathroom and avoid Wiping from back to front as this help inserting the bacteria (Escherichia coli) into the urethra especially in women due to short &wide urethra.

  1. Drink plenty of fluids especially water:

Start your meal with an extra glass of water.

  1. Take special precautions after sexual intercourse:

As sexual intercourse can introduce easily the bacteria (especially chlamydia and mycoplasma)  into the urethra, it is advisable to  empty your bladder completely after each sexual intercourse.

  1. Avoid using the spermicidal jelly:

As in addition to killing the sperms, it will kill the normal vaginal florae allowing colonization of the vagina by pathogenic organisms.

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