Bladder infection / UTI
What is a bladder infection?
What is a bladder infection?
A bladder infection (urinary tract infection or UTI) is a bacterial infection of any part of the urinary tract. Cystitis is inflammation of the bladder, often caused by a bacterial infection, but also by other causes such as trauma or injury. An infection of the upper urinary tract or kidney is known as pyelonephritis, and is potentially more serious.
A healthy bladder and urine usually contains little or no bacteria, viruses or fungi. A urinary tract infection can occur if bacteria reaches the urethra from the digestive tract via the anus. Women suffer from urinary tract infections more often than men because their urethra is closer to the anus and shorter.
Most woman have a UTI during their lifetime, but some are affected more frequently.
The most common bacteria in a UTI is Escherichia coli. However, many other bacteria can also cause a UTI, including Chlamydia and Mycoplasma, which are sexually transmitted.
A UTI is different to thrush, which is a yeast rather than bacterial infection.
- Burning pain while urinating.
- Frequent feeling or need to urinate.
- Inability to urinate, despite the urge.
- Only small quantities of urine passed.
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine.
- Blood in the urine.
- Pressure in the pelvis.
- Need to urinate at night.
- Malaise (not feeling well).
- Young children may also suffer loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, fever, diarrhoea or excessive crying. Older children may experience abdominal pain or incontinence.
- Medical diagnosis by a doctor is recommended if there is pain toward the back (suggesting kidney infection); if pain persists; if there is fever; or if there is blood in the urine.
- Gender. Women are more prone to UTIs than men, with their urethra being closer to their anus, a source of bacterial infection.
- A healthy vagina contains a balance natural protective bacteria that fight against infections and maintain an ideal vaginal pH. If the vaginal flora is disrupted, harmful bacteria can take over and dominate, causing a urinary tract infection. The most common cause of this disruption is antibiotics, which indiscriminately kill all bacteria, both good and bad. Other products which can upset the bacterial balance of normal vaginal flora include spermicides, intimate hygiene products, commercial sexual lubricants, and various sprays, gels and powders.
- A weak, stressed or compromised immune system.
- Sex. In young sexually active women, 75-90% of UTIs are caused by sex. The risk is highest for younger women, and those with frequently changing partners. In post-menopausal women, sexual activity rarely leads to infection.
- Urinary catheters.
- About half of those who get a UTI will recover without treatment in a few days or weeks.
- Drink more water. This helps to flush out the urinary system. Try to let the bladder get as full as is comfortable, and then empty as far as possible when urinating. Going from full to empty tends to better flush out the bladder.
- The standard medical treatment for a UTI is a course of antibiotics. Doctors assume that the cause of the infection is a bacteria and not a fungus. Antibiotics are often successful if it actually is a bacterial infection, it is treated promptly, and it is the first occurrence of the infection. However, those who use antibiotics may be setting themselves up for endless recurring infections in the long-term. The bacteria causing a UTI often develop resistance to various antibiotics. In addition, bacterial balance throughout the body is devastated by antibiotics.
- If the infection is caused by a fungus rather than bacteria, borax is an effective remedy.
- Women - after using the toilet, wipe in the direction from the urethra towards the anus. Wiping in the other direction tends to put bacteria from the anus in the urethra.
- Sexual hygiene. Preferably use condoms. If not using a condom, urinate after sex to wash out bacteria that may have entered the urethra.
- Natural probiotics restore the symbiotic balance throughout the body and strengthen the immune system, helping your body to combat the bacterial UTI infection. In the case of a vaginal infection, kefir can be used as a douche, or kefir grain inserted in the vagina.
- Gum turpentine.
- Cranberry juice (unsweetened). Blueberry juice and fresh blueberries may also be useful.
- Avoid using spermicides, commercial lubricants, perfumes, strong soap, and other bathroom products near the urethra.
- Avoid sugars, sugary foods, grains, junk food and alcohol, all of which feed pathogenic bacteria and yeasts.
- Vitamin C, especially when taken at night. It raises the acidity of the urine, which retards the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract. Try to use a high quality vitamin C and not a cheap synthesised product.