The bladder is part of the urinary tract and can store and hold up to two cups of fluid for several hours. The urinary tract also includes the kidneys, the ureters, and the urethra. Men, women, and children can all develop bladder infections, or cystitis.
Causes of Bladder Infections
Urine held in the bladder is sterile, or bacteria free. Usually, bacteria that moves up through the urethra towards the bladder is cleaned out of your body when you urinate. However, in some cases the bacteria is not completely flushed out and is able to reach the bladder and multiply. The most usual bacteria culprit is Escherichia coli, more commonly known as E. coli.
Symptoms of Bladder Infections
Symptoms of bladder infections include the need to urinate frequently, a burning sensation while urinating, and fever. Your urine might be bloody or cloudy. You may also not be able to urinate a lot of fluid, even though it feels like you should be able to. Cystitis is a very uncomfortable condition.
Women’s Bladder Infections
Women experience cystitis much more often than do men. If you have had a bladder infection in the past, you are likely to experience one again. Women can help prevent bladder infections by taking showers instead of baths, and if taking a bath, avoiding bubble baths.
Drink plenty of water and do not hold your urine for long periods of time. Keep your genital area clean and dry. Try to avoid wearing tight pants, spandex, or other materials that do not breathe well. Cotton and fragrance free toilet papers and sanitary products are your friends. Urinating within ten minutes after sexual intercourse will help keep your urinary tract flushed.
Men’s Bladder Infections
It is harder for men to get bladder infections than women because men’s urethras are longer than women’s. To avoid a bladder infection, you should make sure to keep your genital area clean, drink plenty of water, and completely empty your bladder during urination.
Children’s Bladder Infections
The ratio of bladder infections of little boys and girls is roughly the same as men to women. Girls get bladder infections three times more often than do boys. Prevention for children is similar to prevention for adults. Children should not hold in their urine and should be taught how to keep their genital areas clean.
If you suspect that you or one of your family members has a bladder infection, you should go to your physician for testing and treatment. Avoiding treatment can lead to kidney infections. Make sure that you follow your physician’s treatment instructions. It is very important for you or your family member to take all of the medication prescribed even after the symptoms disappear.