What is a Bladder Infection?
A bladder infection, also known as cystitis or UTI (urinary tract infection), is an ailment generated by the presence of multiple bacteria in the bladder. Having a bladder infection causes major discomfort and inconvenience. However, it is preventable and can be immediately and easily treated.
Symptoms of bladder infections include:
- Pain above the pubic bone
- Pain in abdomen or lower back
- Endless urge to urinate
- Frequent urination
- Burning sensation when urinating (dysuria)
- Cloudy, bloody or foul-smelling urine
- Bladder spasms
- Fatigue and chills
- Mild fever
Bladder infection is commonly caused by bacteria coming from the rectal area which have spread and entered into the urethra, traveling through the urinary tract to finally settle into the bladder, where they propagate. A majority of bladder infections are brought about by the bacteria Escherichia coli or E.coli, although other bacteria may also be the cause of infection, including Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Enterobacter, Klebsiella, and Proteus species.
Contributing factors are numerous, and would indicate that anyone can have a bladder infection. Nevertheless, it has been observed that women are more prone, mainly because of the proximity of the urethra and rectal area. Specific contributing factors are:
- Sexual activity, especially when frequent
- Sexually transmitted disease or HIV
- Medical condition such as diabetes
- Weak immune system
- Inadequate or improper personal hygiene
- Enlarged prostate in men
- Use of a diaphragm for birth control
A bladder infection can easily be prevented especially by drinking at least 8 glasses of water everyday, to cleanse the system. Drinking cranberry juice also helps in preventing the occurrence of UTI. Additionally, good habits and proper hygiene should be practiced. After urinating, women should wipe from front to back and not the reverse; washing the genital area should be done before and after intercourse; and changing tampons and sanitary napkins should be done frequently during the menstruation period. Using scented soaps, talc, spray or other products that may have strong chemicals, as well as wearing tight jeans or trousers and wet swimsuits should be avoided, as they may cause irritation in the genital area. Bacteria thrive on sweet, so controlling sugar intake will help, too.
The discomfort and pain associated with bladder infection can be alleviated with simple over-the-counter drugs such as painkillers and anti-inflammatories. The treatment itself requires antibiotics properly prescribed by a physician. However, recurring bladder infections are known to be an effect of treatment with antibiotics, and long term use of these drugs usually results in a weakened immune system.
There are ways to go about treating and healing oneself using natural remedies. There would be no need to worry about the long term side-effects or a dependency on medication and antibiotics if these natural remedies are applied. Acupuncture, nutritional therapies, massage and naturopathy are only some of the things that can be done. Combine these with herbal remedies, one is well on his way to healing and recovery. Herbs such as Agothosma betulina (buchu), Echinacea angustifolia, Avena sativa , Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort), Vaccinium myrtillus (billberry) and Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) prevent further infections by strengthening the immune system and providing antibacterial action.