Bladder Infection

A bladder infection is usually painful. Its typical symptoms include a burning sensation during urination and frequent urination.

Cystitis, Cystitis, Bladder Inflammation, Bladder Cystitis

A bladder infection is usually painful. Its typical symptoms include a burning sensation during urination and frequent urination. This common condition predominantly affects girls and women.

What Is Bladder Inflammation?

A bladder infection is also called cystitis or bladder catarrh. It is an infection of the bladder, most commonly caused by bacteria, although in rare cases, it can be caused by other pathogens. Bladder infection is considered a “lower urinary tract infection,” affecting the lower urinary tract, which includes the urethra and the bladder. (The upper urinary tract includes the kidneys and ureters.)

Microorganisms almost always enter the urethra from the outside and then proceed to invade the bladder, triggering an inflammation. When your bladder is inflamed, it can lead to spasmodic pain in the bladder and pain during urination. You may also need to visit the toilet more frequently than usual, even though the amount of urine passed is often minimal.

If left untreated, a bladder inflammation can lead to complications. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a medical practice or pharmacy when dealing with cystitis. In most cases, a bladder infection can be effectively treated with antibiotics. In milder cases or when initial symptoms appear, you can try home remedies to alleviate the inflammation (bladder and kidney tea, hot water bottle, sitz baths). In severe cases, it is essential to consult a doctor or pharmacy. Seek professional help if you experience the following symptoms: 

  • Your cystitis is accompanied by a fever.
  • Your bladder infection has not improved after three days.
  • You repeatedly suffer from bladder catarrh.

Visiting a pharmacy or medical practice is also recommended if you belong to any of the following groups:

  • Men
  • Pregnant women
  • Children
  • Diabetics
  • Immunocompromised patients

In men, bladder inflammations occur less frequently than in women, but the course of cystitis is often more complicated in men

How Do You Notice a Bladder Infection?

The following symptoms may occur with a bladder infection:

  • Frequent, sometimes strong urge to urinate
  • Pain and cramps in the lower abdomen (bladder region)
  • Burning, stabbing pain during urination
  • Often, only a dribble of urine is passed despite the urge
  • Cloudy urine
  • Strong odor

Most often, these infections are mild and resolve within a few days. It’s important to note that an uncomplicated urinary tract infection is only considered uncomplicated in adult women.

Course and Prognosis of Bladder Inflammation

In most cases, bladder inflammations have a mild course. Sometimes, cystitis can even resolve on its own. However, timely and appropriate treatment can also help you get rid of your bladder infection within a few days. Such a benign course of bladder catarrh is, however, contingent on several conditions: your kidneys function without disturbances, you do not have chronic (repeated) cystitis, there are no anatomical peculiarities in your urinary tract, and you do not have any accompanying conditions that could predispose you to a bladder infection (such as diabetes mellitus).

It is also possible that your acute cystitis recurs multiple times and progresses to chronic bladder inflammation. In extreme cases, long-term damage to bladder tissue could occur, resulting in a shrunken bladder.

Less likely but still possible is that your cystitis takes a more challenging course. For example, bacteria from the inflamed bladder can ascend further and trigger an upper urinary tract infection (such as pyelonephritis).

If you suspect you have a bladder infection, visit UrinCheck at your Medrosan pharmacy near the Kunsthaus in Zurich and have your urine values analyzed. Your pharmacist can then help you take the appropriate measures.

Dr. Claudia Zieres-Nauth

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