General information including how these infections begin, prevention, medical treatment and self-care methods.
What is it? Cystitis, more commonly called a bladder infection, is an infection of the lower urinary tract. These infections are much more common in females. This is thought to be due to the length of the urethra, which is shorter than that in the male, (approximately 1/2 inch total length). Therefore the bacteria have less distance to travel to reach the bladder, thus initiating an infection.
What happens? -Frequent urge to urinate, possibly with little output. -Feeling of urgency, (have to go right now!) -Painful urination -Bloody or dark colored urine, possibly with strong odor. -Super pubic pain or pressure, (at the midline, just above pubic bone)
Why does it happen? -Bacterial or viral organisms -Excessive intake of caffeine beverages like coffee, tea or soda. -Sometimes can be related to sexual activity -Sometimes common during pregnancy, making treatment more difficult. -Excessive use of deodorant or scented feminine products, including bubble bath -Unknown causes
Can I stop it? Preventative Measures 1. Drink 6 (six) 8oz glasses of water per day. 2. Avoid caffeine and carbonated beverages (chocolate, coffee, tea, soda). 3. Keep your bladder empty. (Go to the bathroom frequently.) 4. Wear all cotton underwear (not just a cotton crotch). 5. Go to the bathroom before and after any sexual relation or genital contact. 6. Wash well after sexual contact (around urethra opening) 7. Wash area with water and mild soap. 8. Wipe from front to back after urinating or defecating
Should I see a doctor? You should see you doctor if, after the first signs of discomfort, symptoms are not reduced by the self-care treatments listed below within a few days. However, if the pain associated with the infection is severe from the outset, seek medical care immediately and do not attempt self-care of this condition.
Treatment Home care or early treatment Increase fluid intake with the first sign of discomfort. This alone can sometimes literally wash offending organism out of the bladder. Drink fruit juices, especially cranberry juice to increase acidity of urine (decrease pH). Cranberry juice is thought to contain a natural antibiotic. If no relief in 12-24 hours of lots of fluids (several gallons), seek medical attention. (Earlier if pain is severe.)
Medical Treatment: You will be required to give a urine specimen to check and possibly for culture. You will most likely be treated with an antibiotic for a specified period of time. Pain medication is available. It is specifically for the smooth muscle of the bladder. Return to the doctor if the symptoms are not relieved within a few days even though you will need to take your medication longer.