Living With Urinary Tract Infections
If you have 3 or more urinary tract infections each year, your doctor may want you to begin a preventive antibiotic program. A small dose of an antibiotic taken every day helps to reduce the number of infections. If sexual intercourse seems to cause infections for you, your doctor many suggest taking the antibiotic after intercourse.
What Is Interstitial Cystitis/bladder Pain Syndrome
Interstitial cystitis /bladder pain syndrome is a chronic bladder health issue. It is a feeling of pain and pressure in the bladder area. Along with this pain are lower urinary tract symptoms which have lasted for more than 6 weeks, without having an infection or other clear causes.
Symptoms range from mild to severe. For some patients the symptoms may come and go, and for others they don’t go away. IC/BPS is not an infection, but it may feel like a bladder infection. Women with IC/BPS may feel pain when having sex. The more severe cases of IC/BPS can affect your life and your loved ones. Some people with IC/BPS have other health issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and other pain syndromes.
The bladder and kidneys are part of the urinary system, the organs in our bodies that make, store, and pass urine. You have 2 kidneys that make urine. Then urine is stored in the bladder. The muscles in the lower part of your abdomen hold your bladder in place.
How the Urinary System Works
When Urinary Tract Infections Keep Coming Back
If you are prone to recurrent UTIs, you can head them off before they take hold.
Unless you’re in the fortunate minority of women who have never had a urinary tract infection , you know the symptoms well. You might feel a frequent urgency to urinate yet pass little urine when you go. Your urine might be cloudy, blood-tinged, and strong-smelling. For 25% to 30% of women who’ve had a urinary tract infection, the infection returns within six months.
If you have repeated UTIs, you’ve experienced the toll they take on your life. However, you may take some comfort in knowing that they aren’t likely to be the result of anything you’ve done. “Recurrent UTIs aren’t due to poor hygiene or something else that women have brought on themselves. Some women are just prone to UTIs,” says infectious diseases specialist Dr. Kalpana Gupta, a lecturer in medicine at Harvard Medical School.
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What Could Be Mistaken For A Uti
There are several conditions whose symptoms mimic UTIs. Sexually transmitted infections cause symptoms also common in UTIs, such as painful urination and discharge.
Vaginitis, caused by bacteria or yeast, can result in a burning sensation when urinating and similar discomfort that may mimic a UTI.
Often mistaken for a UTI, interstitial cystitis , or painful bladder condition, is a chronic condition affecting the bladder that does not improve with antibiotic treatment. Symptoms of IC include increased urgency and more frequent urination as well as pain in the pelvic area.
Other conditions to rule out are overactive bladder, pregnancy, prostatitis, diabetes, cancer, and kidney stones.
Bladder Spasm Or Over Active Bladder Syndrome
You go to the doctor with what you’re sure is a bladder infection, only to find out it’s not. A urinalysis shows that there is no bacteria present. So what now?
The urologist I went to diagnosed me with having “bladder spasm.” This condition is also known as overactive bladder syndrome or OAB. He took great pains to explain to me how difficult it is to find the cause and right treatment for symptoms like urinary frequency and urgency. He also said that many women have episodes like this at some time in their lives, but recover from it completely.
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What Are The Risk Factors For Getting Bladder Infections And Other Uti Infections
A person is more likely to get a bladder infection if they dont urinate frequently enough. If they hold their urine in, the bacteria can collect in the bladder and lead to infection. Try to go to the bathroom at least every two to three hours to keep this from happening.
Not drinking enough water is another risk factor for bladder infections because your body doesnt move as much urine through the bladder as quickly.
Risk factors for urethritis include having a sexually transmitted infection or from trauma to the urethra, such as due to the insertion of a urinary catheter.
In addition to these specific risk factors for bladder infections, there are general risk factors for all UTI types. These include:
risk factors for uti
- being pregnant
- having diabetes, as a person experiences changes to their immune system that make them more prone to UTIs
- having an enlarged prostate
- having low levels of estrogen, such as when a woman is post-menopausal
- having a history of kidney stones, which can block the flow of urine through the urinary tract
Women are also more likely than men to get UTIs because their urethra is shorter. The bacteria have less distance to go to reach the bladder and can cause infections.
Don’t Sabotage Your Recovery
Don’t give in and reach for the foods that are hurting you. I really sabotaged myself for a while because I would not give up that one cup of coffee in the morning. Once I got past that, I started to get better. Don’t undermine your recovery with that one glass of wine or cup of coffee, the way I did. Just stop. If all goes well, this will be a temporary situation. You can go back to enjoying those things later, but for now, you have to get this situation under control.
Instead of your regular acidic indulgences, milk or vanilla ice cream can be pleasant and very soothing. Make sure you get a brand of ice cream that does not contain a lot of chemicals.
When To See A Healthcare Provider For Cystitis Or Uti
Young children and men should see a healthcare provider when experiencing symptoms of a UTI or cystitis to rule out other conditions because both conditions can be more serious among these groups.
For women experiencing symptoms of a UTI lasting longer than three days, see a healthcare provider to get a diagnosis and proper treatment. Because severe cases may lead to more serious infections of the bladder or kidney that need to be treated in a hospital setting, its important to seek treatment as early as possible. Any of the following symptoms warrant a medical providers advice:
- Painful, burning/ stinging urination
- An urgent need to pee frequently but in small amounts
- Bloody, dark, cloudy, or foul-smelling urine
- Pain in the bladder or surrounding areas
Discuss your symptoms in detail with your healthcare provider, seeking their advice regarding diagnostic testing to rule out other diseases.
Bladder Infection Diagnosis & Treatment
If you feel like you are experiencing bladder infection symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor. He or she will test your urine to determine whether you have an infection.
If you have a bladder infection, your doctor will likely prescribe a course of antibiotics, and recommend medication that relieves pain in your abdomen and when you urinate. Remember, itâs crucial that you finish all the antibiotics your doctor prescribed even if you are feeling better, otherwise the infection may flare up again, requiring another round of treatment.
If you do have a bladder infection, be sure to drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to flush out bacteria from your urinary tract. Also, overly concentrated urine is acidic and will aggravate your bladder infection symptoms. So, drink up!
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Bladder Infection Signs: How To Spot Them
The pain can be so intense you almost cant walktrip after trip to the bathroom with no relief in sight. You might be experiencing the painful side effects of a bladder infection.
Urinary tract infections or UTIs can manifest as bladder infections. They affect more than 150 million people each year, and when left untreated, they can pose serious health risks.
But what are the bladder infection signs, and how do you spot them?
We have put together a comprehensive list of signs to help you identify a bladder infection so you can get the medical treatment you need as soon as possible.
Train Your Overactive Bladder
Your bladder can be trained to hold more urine for longer. Improved muscular control can also be beneficial. Ask your doctor for a precise strategy to follow results can take up to three months. These techniques may be part of this strategy:
Maintain a bladder control journal. Keep track of how much you drink, when you urinate, as well as how much you sweat and whether its average for you or less than average, or more than average. Write down how strong your urge to urinate is on a scale of 1 to 10, as well as whether any urine spills.
Break the link between the mind and the bladder. Try modifying your schedule if you have particular behaviors, such as dashing to the bathroom as soon as you get to work or home. The desire to urinate may fade after 30 to 60 seconds.
Although urge incontinence is unpleasant, its also relatively curable. Adjustments to your habits and lifestyle can help you address them. So, take account of how often you use the restroom because if its six to eight times per day, youre OK. If its more, consult your doctor right away.
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Pale Or Discolored Skin
They say the rare complication in serious Covid cases means oxygen levels in the blood are low.
The CDC called it an “emergency warning sign” and said people should seek help immediately if you notice the change in color, along with trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, inability to stay awake, or new confusion.
Warning Over Five Unusual Covid Symptoms That You May Not Know Yet And When To Seek Emergency Treatment
- 17:34 ET, Jan 12 2022
EXPERTS are warning of unusual Covid symptoms and when to seek emergency treatment as the omicron variant continues to spread in the US.
While fever, cough, and shortness of breath are common signs of a possible coronavirus infection, other strange symptoms are being attributed to the virus.
Doctors say one of the first signs of the omicron variant in particular can be a scratchy throat, followed by headache and fatigue.
Though someone infected with Covid may not experience any of the following symptoms, it’s important to be aware that they could be signs of an infection.
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When To Make An Appointment
Make the call if your frequent trips are beginning to negatively affect your day. You should also contact your doctor if you have pain when peeing or notice blood in your urine. These symptoms may indicate a bacterial infection or something more serious, such as bladder cancer.
Make a doctors appointment within a day or two if you experience:
- Change in your urine color
- Mental health disorder
- Side or back pain
Immediately go to the hospital if you are experiencing weakness in your legs as this could be a sign of spinal cord disorder.
What to Expect
Your primary care physician will conduct a blood test to rule out any underlying medical issues, such as diabetes, as well as a urine culture to rule out any infections.
They may also perform a rectal exam to assess the size of your prostate. Your doctor may request that you keep a diary of your eating and toilet habits as this can help rule out any lifestyle factors such as excessive caffeine consumption.
Before a diagnosis of overactive bladder can be made, they need to rule out other possible causes. For example, your doctor may prescribe an ultrasound to look for kidney stones.
Treatment is determined by the underlying cause of the problem: Antibiotics may be prescribed by your doctor to treat any bacterial illness. They may advise you to practice pelvic exercises like Kegels.
You Don’t Empty Your Bladder
It’s important to pee whenever you need to, instead of holding it and waiting until later. And the same is true for completely emptying your bladder.
“Whenever you have the urge to go, it is important to empty the bladder completely to eliminate any potential accumulation of bacteria,” Ackerman says.
Again, this will help flush out any bacteria from the urethra, and make it less likely that you’ll develop a UTI.
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What Is Painful Bladder Syndrome
Painful Bladder Syndrome
Painful bladder syndrome is a condition that causes bladder pain, pressure, or discomfort. Some people feel the need to urinate frequently or rush to get to the bathroom. The symptoms range from mild to severe and can happen sometimes or all the time. PBS is not caused by an infection, but it can feel like a urinary tract infection or UTI. Painful bladder syndrome is also referred to as bladder pain syndrome and interstitial cystitis. In the past, doctors thought PBS was rare and difficult to treat. We now know that PBS affects many women and men and treatments are helpful.
What causes PBS?
No one knows for sure, but we think PBS happens when the inner lining of the bladder is not working properly. This means that nerves in the wall of the bladder become hypersensitive so the normal feeling of the bladder filling can be painful. There may also be inflammation or allergic reaction responses in the bladder. Some people report developing PBS after an injury to the bladder such as a severe bladder infection or major trauma, but this is not always the case. PBS is more common in people who have irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or other chronic pain conditions. It is not clear why these problems happen together.
What are the symptoms of PBS?
How is PBS diagnosed?
Do I need a cystoscopy?
How is PBS treated?
Simple changes to diet or routines can help some people with bladder pain. Steps might include
Which Infections Are Worse
NIDDK . A kidney infection is usually caused by a bladder or urethra infection where the bacteria multiply and travel upward toward the kidneys.
Kidney infections can be extremely serious and painful, sometimes leading to hospitalization to receive intravenous antibiotics. If left untreated, kidney infections due to UTIs can cause infections in the bloodstream. This can be life-threatening.
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What It Feels Like To Live With An Incurable Bladder Disease
Nicole Abi-Najem, a 28-year old student from Toronto, has interstitial cystitis, an extremely painful bladder condition that has been likened to having a permanent urinary tract infection.
As told to Katie UnderwoodUpdatedApril 7, 2016
In 2012, I was working out and I went to the bathroom. When I finished peeing, I still felt like I had to go, but I knew that my bladder was empty. Doctors initially thought it was a urinary tract infection, but a test showed there wasnt any bacteria. They gave me antibiotics, but the feeling didnt go away. I went to a urologist, and he performed a cystoscopy to examine the inside of my bladder. He saw nothing. With both those tests clear, a specialist at Womens College Hospital in Toronto eventually concluded that I had interstitial cystitis.
It feels like a never-ending UTI, a migraine of the bladder. Its an enigmatic condition, but what researchers have ascertained so far is that there are several subtypes, which manifest as excruciating pain, urgency and frequency . For some, the only relief from pain comes from voiding, so many sufferers are chained to their toilets, having to pee up to 60 times a day. For me, the symptom is urgency, which is like a tingling, dull feeling in my urethra. I always feel like I have to go, even if I know theres nothing there. The difference between feeling like urinating and knowing I have to is that I feel a kind of dull pressure with the latter.
How Do You Get A Bladder Infection Or Uti
UTIs happen when bacteria enters the urethra and spreads. Urinary tract infections are fairly common and can happen to anyone, but the following risk factors can increase your chances of getting one:
- The sex you’re assigned at birthpeople assigned female at birth have shorter urethras than those assigned male at birth, making it easier for bacteria to travel to the bladder and kidneys.
- Hormone changesmenopause, pregnancy, or just that time of the month can increase your risk of infection.
- Diaphragms and spermicidesthese forms of contraception can kill off good bacteria, increasing the bad bacteria which can find its way to the urethra.
- Genetic predispositionThats right! It could just be a genetic thing. Genetics play a role in the shape and size of your urinary tract making some individuals more prone to infections.
- Sexual activityPee as soon as possible after sex to prevent UTIs.
- Hygiene habitsBubble baths and scented feminine products might feel like self-care, but they can cause irritation that leads to UTIs. Also, always make sure youre wiping front to back!
- Chronic illnessIllness that causes changes to your immune system, like diabetes, can make you more prone to UTIs.
- Holding itNo need to be a hero. When you have to go to the bathroom, you should go.
- Not drinking enough waterAdd it to the list of reasons you should drink more water! Staying hydrated can help stave off infections.
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