Urinary Tract Infection UTI

BLADDER HEALTH MONTH

The bladder is a vital organ that serves as a storage space for the filtered urine that transfers from the kidneys. Bladder Health Month is in November, and is a time to become aware of the dangers of infection or disease, and how to maintain a healthy bladder. There are many threats to the bladder. It doesn’t function like other organs in the body. Instead, it holds waste until a person can adequately expel it. Therefore, the bladder has to rely on other organs in the body not to transfer anything toxic, which can cause severe bladder damage.

Interstitial Cystitis

Approximately four to twelve million people suffer from interstitial cystitis. It is a chronic bladder pain syndrome (BPS) that causes excessive pressure on the bladder. The added pressure results in pain in the organ and pelvic region, ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms include pain in the lower belly, pelvic region, and genitals. IC also forces sudden needs to urinate, and patients who suffer from IC may find themselves feeling urgency even if they just went to the bathroom. Patients will have to urinate 7-8 times a day. In severe cases, patients will have to do so up to 60 times a day. Since there is such a wide array of symptoms, IC is difficult to diagnose. The condition can last for years or, in some cases, the symptoms may go away by themselves. Symptoms of IC are similar to those of kidney stones and other urinary tract infections. Although there is no cure for interstitial cystitis, there are effective treatments, which can drastically reduce the symptoms. Doctors may recommend tricyclic antidepressants or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that help relax the bladder and relieve pressure.

Urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a broad term for any infected part of the urinary system. The infection may start within the urethra, then spread to the bladder. However, the condition becomes more serious when the infection spreads to the kidneys. Urinary tract infections are common, especially in women, and typically occur in the lower urinary tract.

Types of UTIs

There are mainly three types of UTI. Each variation of UTI may yield different types of symptoms and may range in severity.
  • Urethra. The most common form of UTI is called urethritis. It is usually a bacterial infection located within the urethra. The urethra is responsible for carrying urine from the bladder outside of the body. Urethritis occurs when bacteria enter the urethra and cause an infection. If the infection spreads to the kidneys, it can cause sepsis and be life-threatening. Symptoms of UTI include discharge and intense pain during urination. The infection typically takes up to three months to heal, but doctors can prescribe antibiotics that will speed up recovery.
  • Bladder. A urinary tract infection that moves to the bladder is known as cystitis. Bacteria enter the bladder and multiply, causing painful inflammation. Most cases of cystitis develop from bacteria called Escherichia coli, or E. coli. E. coli is commonly found in contaminated food products and cause infection in the urethra. When the bacteria spread far enough, it reaches the bladder. There are more than three million cases of cystitis reported each year and are more common in women. The condition causes pelvic pressure, discomfort in the lower abdomen, frequent urination that is also painful, and blood in the urine. Although most acute cystitis infections go away naturally, antibiotics also help speed up the process. Doctors also recommend over the counter pain relievers.
  • Kidney. UTI located is known as acute pyelonephritis. It can occur suddenly and is the most severe form of urinary tract infection. The condition happens when the UTI bacteria make their way to the kidneys from the bladder, thus causing swelling and inflammation. The damage done to the organs from this infection is dangerous because it can be permanent. If the condition is ongoing and attacks persist, the situation evolves into chronic pyelonephritis. Both forms can be life-threatening. Depending on the severity of the infection, doctors may prescribe antibiotics, or the patient may have to have surgery. The infection may go away within three days with antibiotics. However, doctors will provide a 15-day prescription, and the medicine must be taken in full to remove the infection thoroughly.

How to Avoid Urinary Tract Infections, or UTI

Maintaining a healthy bladder is essential to avoid a Urinary Tract Infection. One essential way to ensure bladder health is to drink plenty of fluids. Fluids help flush out toxins throughout the body and help the kidneys filter out the urine that is transferred to the bladder for storage until it can leave the body from the urethra. One fluid in particular that aids in UTI prevention is cranberry juice. Cranberry juice contains antioxidants that prevent E. coli bacteria from attaching to the walls of the urinary system. This month, take some extra effort to recognize how vital the bladder is in ensuring everyday health and why it is important to keep it healthy. Bladder problems and Urinary Tract Infections can happen suddenly and can also become unbearably painful quickly. These types of infections can even become life threatening. The Emergency Center is here for you if you have symptoms of a bladder or kidney infection! The Emergency Center provides up to 23 hours of Observation and offers 24/7 care with NO WAITING. Visit one of The Emergency Center’s convenient 24-hour locations in ArlingtonFort Worth, and San Antonio.