A bladder infection is a type of urinary tract infection that affects both men and women. Women typically have fewer complications associated with bladder infections and treatment tends to be short and swift. Men, however, have a prostate gland which may be affected by the infection making treatment more difficult or complicated, in some cases. Otherwise healthy adults may find they are affected by a bladder infection without a true understanding of how the infection started.
Causes of a Bladder Infection
The kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra make up the urinary tract. Urine is sterilizing, so bacteria cannot normally grow in the urinary tract, but it can grow in the area surrounding the urethra in women and men who are uncircumcised. If conditions are right, the bacteria living in these areas can make its way into the urethra and travel straight to the bladder, causing the infection. Some of the common causes of the spread of bacteria to the urinary tract and bladder include:
In some cases, the causes of a bladder infection may be intertwined. For instance, if a woman comes in contact with condoms with spermicide on a regular basis, she may suffer from recurrent bladder infections. Using condoms without spermicide may reduce the risk of future bladder infections, but her history of recurrent bladder infections causes an increased risk.
Symptoms of a Bladder Infection
The symptoms of a bladder infection may be associated with other health conditions. Before assuming a bladder infection is the cause of symptoms, it is best to see a healthcare provider. You may experience one or more of the following symptoms.
An undiagnosed bladder infection can lead to a kidney infection called pyelonephritis. The symptoms of pyelonephritis may include:
If you have any of these symptoms in addition to the symptoms of a bladder infection, it is important to seek medical care immediately.
Some of the symptoms of a bladder infection are similar to symptoms of other conditions like a yeast infection or an inflamed urethra.
A bladder infection is a painful condition that can appear out of nowhere. With a bout of antibiotics, the condition is typically cured quickly, but avoiding the doctor can leave room for the infection to spread to the kidneys.