Bladder Infection Vs Uti: Whats The Difference
When it comes to taking care of yourself down there, youre not alone if you have more questions than answers. Many people feel anxious at the mere thought of talking to their doctor about reproductive or sexual health concerns. Things like urinary tract infections and bladder infections happen to a lot of people and are nothing to be ashamed of, but they do need to be addressed ASAP for the sake of your health.
It can be tough to distinguish a UTI from a bladder infection if youve never had one before. Were here to help you out. Well go over the different types of UTIs and bladder infections, what causes each, treatment and prevention strategies, and potential complications to be aware of. Plus, well provide advice on when to seek medical help.
Care For Pregnant Women
The hormonal and anatomical changes of pregnancy mean that being pregnant increases the risk for both urinary tract infections and yeast infections. Not only this but pregnant people and their unborn babies may experience more health complications with even simple infections. UTIs and yeast infections during pregnancy can lead to a higher risk of preeclampsia, premature labor, and low birth weight.
Pregnant women who think they have a UTI or a yeast infection should see their healthcare provider without delay, as these infections should be treated right away to prevent serious complications to both the mother and the child. Your healthcare provider can also help you pick the safest treatments, since some antibiotics and antifungals are not suitable for pregnant women.
How Do You Get Rid Of A Urinary Tract Infection
Its a feeling that no one wants the constant urge to urinate, a burning sensation when you urinate or both. If you are experiencing symptoms like these, you may have a UTI.
UTIs are very common, and we see them often at FastMed. Keep reading to learn what a UTI feels like, if a UTI can go away on its own, if UTIs are contagious, and most importantly, how to prevent a UTI from happening in the first place.
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How Is A Uti Diagnosed
To find out whether you have a UTI, your doctor or nurse will test a clean sample of your urine. This means you will first wipe your genital area with a special wipe. Then you will collect your urine in midstream in a cup. Your doctor or nurse may then test your urine for bacteria to see whether you have a UTI, which can take a few days.
If you have had a UTI before, your doctor may order more tests to rule out other problems. These tests may include:
- A cystogram. This is a special type of x-ray of your urinary tract. These x-rays can show any problems, including swelling or kidney stones.
- A cystoscopic exam. The cystoscope is a small tube the doctor puts into the urethra to see inside of the urethra and bladder for any problems.
What Is A Uti And What Is A Bladder Infection
A urinary tract infection is an infection in your urinary system. Around 50-60% of women will experience at least one UTI in their lifetime, and an unlucky number of them get UTIs frequently. The American Urological Association estimates that 20-40% of women who have had one UTI will get another one, and 25-50% of those women will end up having at least one more after that. Men can also get UTIs, though this happens less frequently than it does in women.
UTIs occur when unwanted bacteria end up in your urinary tract and trigger inflammation. They are caused by a variety of factors, including sexual activity, poor hygiene, genetics, age, and certain types of contraceptives.
The most reliable sign of a UTI is a stinging or burning sensation with urination, though other symptoms may also occur.
A bladder infection is a type of UTI that occurs specifically in your bladder.
Think of it this way: Your urinary tract includes your urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys.
Your bladder is the closest organ to your urethra , so its the area of the body most commonly affected by UTIs. Doctors call inflammation in the bladder cystitis and inflammation in the urethra urethritis.
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Causes Of Bladder Infection
Bladder infections, sometimes called cystitis or urinary tract infections , are when a germusually bacteriatakes up residence in the bladder. Bladder infections are the most common type of UTI, but UTIs can develop in any part of the urinary tract.
The infection causes inflammation and disrupts the normal working of the urinary tract. If left untreated, these infections can also spread to the kidneys, which is more dangerous and painful.
Bladder infections are caused by bacteria from other parts of the body entering the urinary tract. In females, this bacteria typically comes from the vagina or the bowel. In males, bladder infections are usually due to issues like enlarged prostate, which restrict normal urine flow.
Can I Prevent A Urinary Tract Infection
You can usually prevent a urinary tract infection with lifestyle changes. These tips can include:
In some post-menopausal women, a healthcare provider may suggest an estrogen-containing vaginal cream. This may reduce the risk of developing a UTI by changing the pH of the vagina. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have recurrent UTIs and have already gone through menopause.
Over-the-counter supplements are also available for UTIs. These are sometimes recommended for people who have frequent UTIs as another way to prevent them. Talk to your healthcare provider before starting any supplements and ask if these could be a good choice for you.
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What Does A Uti Feel Like
UTIs result from bacteria entering your urethra, the tube that carries urine from your bladder. The symptoms of a UTI are not pleasant and can even be alarming , but they are not life-threatening with prompt treatment.
In addition to frequent urination or a burning sensation when you urinate, with a bladder infection, you may also experience the following:
- Cloudy or smelly urine
- Urine that appears red, pink or even cola-colored
- Being unable to hold your urine comfortably or needing to urinate often
- Lower abdominal pain
- Pelvic pain
There are many other potential causes of these symptoms, including kidney infections, kidney stones and more. Its always wise to seek medical treatment to be sure.
Key Points About Urinary Tract Infections
- Urinary tract infections are a common health problem that affects millions of people each year. These infections can affect any part of the urinary tract.
- Most UTIs are caused by E. coli bacteria, which normally live in the colon.
- The most common symptoms of UTIs include changes in urination such as frequency, pain, or burning urine looks dark, cloudy, or red and smells bad back or side pain nausea/vomiting and fever.
- Antibiotics are used to treat UTIs. Other treatments may include pain relievers, and drinking plenty of water to help wash bacteria out of the urinary tract.
- Other things that can be done may help reduce the likelihood of developing UTIs.
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Diagnosis Of Bladder Cancer
Along with the tests done if a bladder infection is suspected, a medical professional diagnosing bladder cancer will likely order or perform several more tests.
During your visit, they may perform an internal exam of the vagina or rectum to see if they can feel any lumps in your pelvic area.
They may order a set of X-rays called an intravenous pyelogram, which lets them check the kidneys, ureters, and bladder for cancers.
Its also possible the medical professional would order a biopsy of the bladder during the cystoscopy exam. This biopsy removes a sample of the inner lining of the bladder in the area they think might be cancerous. The surgeon may even remove the entire tumor.
A specialist doctor called a pathologist then looks at the cells in the biopsy sample for signs of cancer.
Risk Factors For Developing Utis
Some people are at greater risk than others of developing UTIs. These include:
- women sexually active women are vulnerable, in part because the urethra is only four centimetres long and bacteria have only this short distance to travel from the outside to the inside of the bladder
- people with urinary catheters such as people who are critically ill, who cant empty their own bladder
- people with diabetes changes to the immune system make a person with diabetes more vulnerable to infection
- men with prostate problems such as an enlarged prostate gland that can cause the bladder to only partially empty
- babies especially those born with physical problems of the urinary system.
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Treatments For Cystitis And Urinary Tract Infections
Your treatment plan will be customized to the severity of your condition and your symptoms. In most cases, your doctor will prescribe an oral antibiotic to kill bacteria and prevent further infection.
You should finish all the antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. Finish them even if you feel better before the end of your treatment. If you do not finish the antibiotics, you may develop an infection that is harder to treat.
If this happens, you may have a short hospital stay for intravenous antibiotics and fluids. In addition to treating the infection itself, your doctor may also treat your symptoms with pain medicine to ease discomfort.
Once your infection is clear, make the necessary lifestyle changes to reduce your chances of a future urinary tract infection.
How Are Utis Diagnosed
Only a health care provider can treat urinary tract infections. The first thing a doctor will do is confirm that a person has a UTI by taking a clean-catch urine specimen. At the doctor’s office, you’ll be asked to clean your genital area with disposable wipes and then pee into a sterile cup.
The sample may be used for a urinalysis or a urine culture . Knowing what bacteria are causing the infection can help your doctor choose the best treatment.
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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.
How Long Does It Take To Recover
Both UTIs and yeast infections should clear up after taking medications within days or a few weeks. You must make sure to take prescribed or over-the-counter medication as directed for the entire recommended length of time to prevent the infection from returning.
You may be able to prevent both UTIs and yeast infections by practicing good hygiene and making changes to your wardrobe. Here are some prevention tips:
- Wipe from front to back after a bowel movement.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothing around your genital area, such as pantyhose and restrictive pants.
- Change out of wet swimsuits quickly.
- Do not douche or use vaginal spray or deodorizers near your genitals.
- Avoid scented feminine hygiene products.
Further prevention of UTIs include:
- using the bathroom frequently
- regularly drinking lots of fluid
- urinating before and after sex
Its also possible that drinking cranberry juice can prevent UTIs. The research results are mixed. Make sure to choose a sugar-free version. If the juice is too tart, you can water it down to make the juice more palatable.
You may also be able to reduce your chances of contracting a yeast infection if you:
- avoid hot baths and hot tubs
- change your feminine products often
- control your blood sugar if you have diabetes
Overview Of Urinary Tract Infections
, MD, University of Riverside School of Medicine
In healthy people, urine in the bladder is sterileno bacteria or other infectious organisms are present. The tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body contains no bacteria or too few to cause an infection. However, any part of the urinary tract can become infected. An infection anywhere along the urinary tract is called a urinary tract infection .
How Long Does A Bladder Infection Last
You should obtain relief of bladder infection symptoms within 24-48 hours of starting treatment. However, if you have a kidney infection, it can take a week or more for the symptoms to go away. A kidney infection should be treated immediately, as it can evolve into a generalized infection or sepsis.
As mentioned above, bladder infections are typically caused by bacteria. They are treated with prescription medications, usually an oral antibiotic, which kills the bacteria causing the infection. It is important to take the full course of the antibiotic even after you start feeling better. This ensures all the harmful bacteria are killed. Failure to do so can lead to recurrent urinary tract infections. If you are prone to frequent bladder infections, your doctor might prescribe a small daily dose of antibiotics for a while to prevent this from occurring.
To relieve symptoms such as pain, burning, urgency, and frequency, your doctor may prescribe a medication called phenazopyridine . You can also ask your doctor about using over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for relieving back pain and abdominal cramps. A heating pad or warm compresses on the lower back or lower abdomen can help relieve the dull ache that is a common symptom of bladder infections.
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How Do I Know If I’m Getting A Bladder Infection
Your symptoms of bladder infection will depend on the severity. You might notice changes in urination such as frequency , urgency , pain or burning when you pee, bloody or cloudy appearing urine, foul-smelling urine, and pressure or cramping in the lower back or lower abdomen.
When a bladder infection spreads to the kidneys , it can also cause mid-back pain. This back pain is unlike muscular back pain. It is not brought on or made worse by activity or position. A kidney infection can also cause additional symptoms such as fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and a general feeling of illness.
If you suspect you have a bladder infection, seek care from a healthcare provider as soon as possible, certainly if your symptoms do not go away in a day or two. Older individuals, pregnant women, and people with diabetes should see a doctor right away. Early treatment is essential to prevent the spread of the infection to the kidneys. As mentioned, kidney infections require urgent medical attention because they can lead to serious complications.
Symptoms Of Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection may have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Pain or burning during urination
- A strong urge to urinate
- Cloudy or bad-smelling urine, or urine that is pink or red
- Pain in the lower belly, in the pelvis , or in the rectum
- Pain on one side of the back under the ribs
- Fever and chills
- Nausea and vomiting.
Other health conditions also could cause some of these symptoms. A person who has a kidney infection will probably have more severe symptoms.
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What Is A Bladder Infection
A bladder infection is a type of urinary tract infection, but not all UTIs are bladder infections. Bladder infections are the most common type of UTIs. A bladder infection may also be called cystitis and it is usually caused by bacteria.
Symptoms of a UTI can differ depending on what part of the urinary tract is infected. A bladder infection usually causes symptoms such as:
- Burning when urinating
- The feeling that you need to pee frequently, but when you go to the toilet very little urine comes out
- Pain in the pelvic area just above the pubic bone.
Bladder infections are usually considered simple UTIs and treatment is usually with antibiotics for three to five days. Symptoms usually resolve in a couple of days.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Urinary Tract Infection
These are the most common symptoms of a UTI:
- Frequent urination
- Pain or burning when passing urine
- Urine looks dark, cloudy, or reddish in color
- Urine smells bad
- Feeling pain even when not urinating
- Pain in the back or side, below the ribs
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Despite an strong urge to urinate, only a small amount of urine is passed
- Women may feel an uncomfortable pressure above the pubic bone
The symptoms of UTI may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always see a health care provider for a diagnosis.
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Treating Utis And Bladder Infections
UTIs and bladder infections are typically treated with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. In order for the infection to go away completely, you need to take the full course of antibiotics, which lasts 3-7 days in most instances but can last longer.
It takes a bit of time for the inflammation to clear up every once the antibiotic begins working, though most people note significant improvement within 48 hours of being on the right antibiotic.
If antibiotics bother your stomach , consider taking probiotics to repopulate your good gut bacteria. This may also help you stay healthy and boost your bodys infection-fighting potential.
In the meantime, drink plenty of water so the flow of urine can help you flush out your system. You might also want to avoid sexual activity while youre recovering because its probably not going to feel great while your urinary tract is inflamed.