A urinary tract infection is an inflammation of the urinary tract. Most people also refer to a urinary tract infection as a bladder infection as this is the most common form of urinary tract infection. A bladder infection is an infection of the lower urinary tract and usually harmless.
In this article further explanation, complaints, treatment and how to prevent it.
Is bladder infection the same as urinary tract infection?
A bladder infection is a form of urinary tract infection. A urinary tract infection is an infection of the urinary tract, which consists of the bladder, ureters, kidneys, and urinary bladder. A bladder infection is the most common form of urinary tract infection.
The symptoms of a bladder infection are:
- Pain when urinating
- Frequent urination
- Urge to urinate even though the bladder is not full
- Cloudy or smelly urine
- Blood in the urine
- Pain in the lower abdomen
If you have one or more of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor. Your doctor can examine your urine to see if you do indeed have a bladder infection.
What values in urine in case of bladder infection?
There are a number of values in urine that can indicate a bladder infection. These are:
- Nitrates. Nitrites are produced by bacteria present in the urine. An elevated level of nitrates in the urine may be an indication of a urinary tract infection, including a bladder infection.
- Leucocytes. Leukocytes are white blood cells that help the body fight infection. An increased level of leukocytes in the urine can be an indication of an inflammation, such as a bladder infection.
- Protein. Proteins in the urine can indicate kidney damage. An increased level of protein in the urine can be an indication of a bladder infection, but can also be caused by other conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Red blood cells. Red blood cells in the urine may indicate bleeding in the urinary system. An elevated level of red blood cells in the urine can be an indication of a bladder infection, but it can also be caused by other conditions, such as a kidney stone or tumor.
You can detect these values in urine, for example, with the Combur Test urine strips.
What causes a bladder infection?
A bladder infection is usually caused by bacteria that enter the bladder through the urethra. When the immune system is weakened, bacteria have the chance to develop into an inflammation. This is especially common in women, this is because the urethra is much shorter in women than in men and therefore it is easier for the bacteria to enter the bladder. Hence, cystitis almost always occurs in women.
The bacteria can get into the bladder by, for example, not wiping properly after urinating. Bacteria can also end up in the bladder through sexual contact or through the frequent use of soap / shampoo, which disrupts the pH value of the vagina and makes it more susceptible to the development of bacteria.
What does the treatment look like?
With a urinary tract infection, drinking a lot is very important as the urine must flow properly. By drinking a lot and urinating a lot, the bacteria will be flushed out. Drinking plenty of fluids is often sufficient for a mild bladder infection and if the symptoms do not disappear, antibiotics can help.
Antibiotics kill the bacteria causing the inflammation. After treatment with antibiotics, the symptoms of a bladder infection usually disappear within a few days.
It is important to treat a bladder infection properly, because otherwise this condition can lead to a kidney infection. A kidney infection is a more serious condition that can cause fever, chills and abdominal pain.
Can I test myself?
Yes, there are several urine tests available to detect bladder infections. We have the Combur 7 Test Urine Strips available, these test strips work by detecting the presence of certain substances in the urine. The Combur 7 strips test the urine for protein, glucose, nitrite, blood, leukocytes, pH, ketones, for example.
It is important to remember that home tests are not always accurate. If you think you have an infection, seeing a doctor is the best way to make sure you get the right diagnosis and treatment.
Examination in the hospital
If you go to the hospital for an examination, the urologist will perform a number of tests. You can think of:
- a urinalysis;
- X-ray examination (ultrasound and abdominal X-ray);
- plastic test with residue measurement;
- cystoscopy (looking inside the bladder).
How can I prevent it?
There are a number of things you can do to prevent it. These are:
- Pee regularly. This helps to keep the bladder clean and prevent bacteria from multiplying.
- Drink a lot of water. This helps to dilute the urine, making it more difficult for bacteria to multiply. At least 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day is sufficient to allow the bladder to empty properly.
- Go pee after sex. This helps flush out any bacteria that may have entered the bladder during sex.
- Do not use soap or shower gel near the vagina. This can disrupt the pH level of the vagina, making it easier for bacteria to multiply.
- Go to the toilet on time. Do not wait until the bladder is completely full, as this gives bacteria a chance to multiply. Also take the time to urinate and relax so that the entire bladder empties. After urinating, wipe your pubic area from front to back so that bacteria from the intestines cannot enter your vagina.
- Don’t use tampons. Tampons can introduce bacteria into the bladder. Rather use sanitary napkins.
- Wash your hands regularly. This helps to prevent the spread of bacteria.
- Do not smoke. Smoking can increase the risk of a bladder infection.
- Eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet can help strengthen your immune system, making you less susceptible to infections. Eating cranberries is recommended, they are effective against common E-coli bacteria.