Sign of bladder infection: Causes, treatments, and remedies

What is a bladder infection?

Sign of bladder infection: Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder. Most cystitis is from bacterial infections involving the bladder and less commonly may be due to other infectious diseases, including yeast infections, viral infections, or the result of other causes such as chemical irritants of the bladder, or for unknown reasons (interstitial cystitis). Bladder infection (infectious cystitis) is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI). Other forms of urinary tract infection include pyelonephritis (kidney infection/inflammation), urethritis (infection/inflammation of the urethra), and prostatitis (inflammation/infection of the prostate gland). This review will specifically address infectious cystitis.

The urine in the bladder is normally free of bacteria (sterile). However, bacteria may be present in the bladder but not cause inflammation or of an infection. This is asymptomatic bacteriuria, not cystitis. Asymptomatic bacteriuria is bacteria in the urine that does not cause . It is important to differentiate asymptomatic bacteriuria from cystitis, to prevent overuse of antibiotics. Most people with asymptomatic bacteriuria do not require antibiotics. In fact, the guidelines for the Infectious Disease Society of America recommend only treating asymptomatic bacteriuria in pregnant women or immediately before urologic procedures.



Cystitis can be complicated or uncomplicated. Uncomplicated cystitis is a bladder infection in a healthy person with a structurally and functionally normal urinary tract. A complicated bladder infection is one that occurs in association with factors that increase the chance of developing a bacterial infection and decrease the chance of antibiotic therapy being effective. Such abnormalities include obstruction from stones, congenital blockages, urethral strictures, and prostate enlargement.

What causes bladder infections?

Causes of bladder infection in women

Cystitis is common among women, particularly during the fertile period. Some women have repeated episodes of cystitis. There are several reasons why women are prone, the most notable being the short length of the urethra and the proximity of the urethra to the vagina and anus, where bacteria are usually located. Sexual relations also contribute in some way, because the movement can cause a certain tendency of the bacteria to reach the urethra, from where they ascend to the bladder. Pregnant women are especially prone to suffer from cystitis because pregnancy itself affects the emptying of the bladder.

The use of a diaphragm increases the risk of developing cystitis, possibly because the spermicide used suppresses the own bacteria of the vagina and allows the growth of the bacteria that cause cystitis. Having sex with a man who uses a condom covered with spermicide also increases the risk.

The decrease in estrogen production that occurs after menopause can cause thinning of the vaginal and vulvar tissues around the urethra (atrophic urethritis and vaginitis) and thus increase the propensity of women to repeat episodes of cystitis. In addition, a fall (prolapse) of the uterus or bladder can lead to a defective emptying of the bladder and predispose to cystitis. Uterine or bladder prolapse is more common in women who have had many children.

In special cases, cystitis reappears due to an abnormal connection between the bladder and the vagina (vesicovaginal fistula).

Vesicovaginal fistula Vesicovaginal fistula Vesicovaginal fistula

Causes of bladder infection in men

Cystitis is less frequent among men. In men, a common cause is a bacterial infection of the prostate, which causes repeated episodes of cystitis and urethritis. Although antibiotics quickly remove bacteria from the urine in the bladder, most of these drugs can not penetrate the prostate enough to quickly cure a localized infection in this gland. Generally, antibiotic treatment should be maintained for weeks. Consequently, if pharmacological treatment is abandoned early, the bacteria that have remained in the prostate re-infect the bladder.

Everything you need to know about bladder infection

A bladder infection is a bacterial infection of the bladder. It is also sometimes known as a urinary tract infection because the urinary tract includes the bladder, urethra, ureters, and kidneys.
Bladder infections are much more common in women than in men. It is estimated that more than 50 percent of women will experience a bladder infection at least once in their lifetime. Most are uncomplicated infections typically caused by the Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacterium.

The term “uncomplicated” is used to describe infections that occur in healthy women as opposed to “complicated” bladder infections that happen to people with other conditions, such as catheters, urinary stents, diabetes, pregnancy, or other causes.

Although an uncomplicated bladder infection is often easily treated with a short course of antibiotics, it can be considerably uncomfortable for the person who has it.

Bladder infection Treatment

People with uncomplicated bladder infections are usually treated with a short course of antibiotics. Treatment options vary, but the following are the most common prescriptions for uncomplicated cystitis.

pills are poured from their holder into an open hand
Uncomplicated bladder infections may be treated by a course of antibiotics.
trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim) – 160-800 milligrams (mg) twice daily for 3 days
nitrofurantoin monohydrate – 100 mg twice daily for 5 – 7 days
fosfomycin trometamol – 3 grams (g) in a single dose
A 3-day course of treatment has been found to be as efficient as a 7-day course of treatment and people experienced fewer side effects. Side effects usually stem from the overgrowth of yeast, which can cause a rash and yeast vaginitis. The 3-day course is also more cost-efficient than the 7-day regime.

Single-Dose treatment is also available, but it generally results in lower cure rates and more frequent recurrence.

Most people find that their symptoms begin to improve the day after beginning the treatment. Even if someone feels better, it is important that they take the full course of antibiotics in order to completely eliminate the infection. If they do not finish the whole dose, the infection may return, and it can be harder to treat the second time around.

If symptoms persist for more than 2 or 3 days after starting treatment, people should contact their doctor.

People with more complicated bladder infections will usually need to take antibiotics for 7-14 days. Complicated infections include those that occur during pregnancy, or in people who have diabetes or a mild kidney infection. It is also recommended that men with acute urinary infections take antibiotics for 7-14 days as well.

Less commonly, fluoroquinolones and beta-lactam antibiotics are used to treat more invasive infections. These antibiotics are effective, but they are not recommended for initial treatment because of concerns about bacterial resistance.

Bladder infection symptoms

Here are some of the most common bladder infection symptoms.

Severe pain.

The main bladder infection symptom is a pain when the bladder is full or filling. You may also experience pain in the pelvis, abdomen and in the vaginaa while voiding or during sex. Men may feel pain in their prostate, scrotum or penis.


The need to urinate frequently, including overnight, is a classic bladder infection symptom. Some people with a severe bladder infection may urinate upwards of 40 times over the course of a full day/night compared to the usual seven or eight


This bladder infection symptom develops when you’re unable to delay urination and feel an urge to urinate, sometimes straight after doing so. It’s usually not associated with urinary leakage or fear of leakage although urge incontinence does sometimes occur


Cloudy, bloody or smelly urine is another classic bladder infection symptom and sign cystitis is present

Other symptoms.

If the infection moves from the bladder to the kidneys, you may also experience infection symptoms like fever, chills, back pain, nausea, and vomiting as well as the above bladder infection symptoms. Women with symptoms of a kidney infection should see their doctor as soon as possible.

Bladder infection causes

Many factors can cause a bladder infection, some of which include:

  • Sexual activity — the risk increases the more often you have sexual intercourse
  • Spermicide-coated condoms or a diaphragm with spermicide can alter the natural protective acidity or pH of the vagina
  • Menopause – changes to the lining of the vagina and urethra, reduction in elasticity and lubrication and an increase in pH, makes you more likely to have a bacterial infection.
  • A urinary catheter — can introduce bacteria directly into your bladder
  • Diabetes — especially uncontrolled diabetes as your urine may contain more sugar, which in turn, feeds the bacteria and encourages them to grow
  • Conditions that prevent you from emptying your bladder such as bladder or kidney stones, enlarged prostate or if you’re pregnant
  • Irritants such as certain soaps
  • Personal Hygiene habits — wiping from back to front when going to the toilet
  • A blockage in the urinary tract (cyst, stones, birth defect)
  • The weight of the fetus during pregnancy
  • Genital prolapse (the dropping down of pelvic organs)
  • An incorrectly placed tampon
  • Spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis
  • Vaginal infections such as candidiasis (thrush) or trichomoniasis can make a woman more susceptible to bladder infections

Bladder infection Home remedies

Given the worrying problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, doctors try to encourage women who experience regular bladder infections to use prevention strategies when possible. These strategies may include:

  • Changing their method of birth control: Bladder infections appear to be more common in women who use spermicides and a diaphragm.
  • Staying hydrated and urinating directly after sexual intercourse: This may help to wash out any bacteria that enter the bladder.
  • Topically applying estradiol cream if postmenopausal: Postmenopausal women may benefit from using vaginal estrogen to reduce the risk of infection. Estradiol cream is available to purchase online.
  • Using a preventive antibiotic: This may be recommended if someone repeatedly develops bladder infections and has not responded to other preventive measures.

People can also help prevent bladder infections by including unsweetened cranberry juice, D-mannose, apple cider vinegar, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and probiotics into their diets. Of these remedies, cranberry products and D-mannose appear to be the most popular.

Who is at risk for a bladder infection?

Anyone can get bladder infections, but women are more prone to getting them than men. This is because women have shorter urethras, making the path to the bladder easier for bacteria to reach.

Females’ urethras are also located closer to the rectum than men’s urethras. This means there is a shorter distance for bacteria to travel.

As men age, the prostate can enlarge. This can cause blockages to the flow of urine and increase the likelihood of a man developing a UTI. UTIs tend to increase in men as they age.

Other factors can increase the risk of bladder infections for both men and women. These include:

  • advanced age
  • immobility
  • insufficient fluid intake
  • the surgical procedure within the urinary tract
  • urinary catheter
  • urinary obstruction, which is a blockage in the bladder or urethra
  • urinary tract abnormality, which is caused by birth defects or injuries
  • urinary retention, which means difficulty emptying the bladder
  • narrowed urethra
  • enlarged prostate
  • bowel incontinence
  • pregnancy
  • diabetes
  • nervous system conditions that affect bladder function, like multiple sclerosis
  • weakened immune system
  • Thanks for reading Sign of bladder infection.

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