Bladder Infection (cont.)
Siamak T. Nabili, MD, MPH
Dr. Nabili received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), majoring in chemistry and biochemistry. He then completed his graduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His graduate training included a specialized fellowship in public health where his research focused on environmental health and health-care delivery and management.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What is a bladder infection?
- What causes bladder infections?
- What are some risk factors for bladder infection?
- What are the signs and symptoms of a bladder infection in women?
- What are the signs and symptoms of a bladder infection in men?
- What are the signs and symptoms of a bladder infection in children?
- How is a bladder infection diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for a bladder infection?
- Are home remedies effective for a bladder infection?
- How is a bladder infection during pregnancy treated?
- What are potential complications of a bladder infection?
- Can bladder infections be prevented?
- What is the prognosis for a bladder infection?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
Are home remedies effective for a bladder infection?
Cranberry products have been known to prevent bladder infections to some degree, although it is not advised to use them in lieu of antibiotics for treating an infection.
Adhering to the prescribed antibiotic regimen and staying well hydrated are essential components of home remedy for bladder infection.
How is a bladder infection during pregnancy treated?
In pregnant women, bladder infection can be complicated. Sometimes the presence of bacteria without obvious signs of infection in pregnant patients could be harmful and may lead to severe infections and the pregnancy can be compromised. The choice of antibiotics during pregnancy may be different for bladder infection during pregnancy due to potential harm to the fetus and thus, careful evaluation by a physician is very important to start the correct therapy promptly.
What are potential complications of a bladder infection?
Complications of a bladder infection can occur if it is not appropriately diagnosed or treated. Untreated or poorly treated bladder infection can ascend the urinary system and lead to kidney infection, pyelonephritis, and sepsis (infection spread into the blood).
Can bladder infections be prevented?
Cranberry products (whole cranberries, cranberry juice, cranberry pills) and vitamin C are current natural remedies known to at least prevent bladder infection.
Proper female hygiene (for example, wiping from front to back) can prevent or reduce simple bladder infections in females. Hygienic use of bath tubs and douches can possibly reduce the risk of bladder infections.
In individuals with Foley catheters, appropriate Foley catheter care and frequent changing of the catheter (guided by the prescribing physician) are important methods to avoid frequent urine infection. These patients are at higher risk for frequent and chronic (long-term) bladder infection and sometimes their doctor may place them on preventive bladder infection antibiotics despite the lack of signs or symptoms of an infection.
Sexual intercourse is another potential risk factor for bladder infection. Thus, it may be advisable to empty the bladder (urinate) after sexual activity, draining bacteria that could have entered the bladder. This is not completely supported by available clinical data and is not recommended by some experts.
Preventive use of antibiotics may also have a role in preventing bladder infections. In some female patients with frequent bladder infections (more than 3 to 4 times per year) or with symptoms of bladder infection present after sexual intercourse, a short course of antibiotics can be taken as a preventive measure. This method needs to be recommended by the treating doctor and the strategy needs to be outlined for patients who are deemed reliable.
Preventive antibiotics are also sometimes recommended in patients undergoing invasive urologic procedures (cystoscopy, prostate biopsy, bladder biopsy). Occasionally, urinalysis and/or urine culture may be ordered before the procedure and if an infection is suggested, then antibiotics are prescribed to prevent an infection after the procedure.
What is the prognosis for a bladder infection?
Overall prognosis for bladder infection is very good. This is a condition which can be completely cured when appropriately diagnosed and treated.
Medically reviewed by Michael Wolff, MD; American Board of Urology
Brusch, John L., et al. "Cystitis in Females." Medscape. 25 Feb. 2013.
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