Going to toilet to pee more than 10 times within a span of couple of hours? Do you feel burning or stinging sensation when you pee? These are the common indicators/symptoms that your bladder might be infected.
Bladder Infection (a part of Urinary Tract Infections) is typically caused due to bacteria. You may feel pain in your lower abdomen and may have to empty your bladder way more often than normal.
Which doctor should you see when you have bladder infection?
If you have a family physician, you can talk to him/her and he/she may refer you to an urologist or a urogynecologist. Else, you can look for a good urologist/urogynecologist near you and see him/her to diagnose and treat your problem.
When you visit your doctor, simple physical examination and your symptoms should be enough to diagnose you with bladder infection. If the symptoms are not clear or if the doctor suspects something more than simple bladder infection, he/she may ask you to get urine analysis done. In urine analysis, your urine sample is collected and sent to the lab to look for the presence of bacteria, pus or blood in it. Sometimes, urine culture may also be done to check what bacteria is the cause of infection. This can help the doctor to put you onto the right medication to get rid of the bacteria.
If you are child or a man or a person with kidney damage or a woman with recurring bladder infection, more tests may be requested by your doctor. Reason being, men typically don’t get their bladder infected. If you are one among the above said groups, there may be a different cause for the symptoms. Following are some tests that will be done by your urologist/urogynecologist to determine the root cause of the symptoms:
- Cystoscopy – A thin tube with light and camera will be inserted through the urethra to take a look inside the bladder. If needed, a small tissue will be scrapped from the lining of the bladder and sent for biopsy.
- Ultrasound, CT Scan, MRI may be done to check for kidney stones, stones in bladder, tumors etc.
- Intravenous Urogram – A chemical dye is injected into the body to check the functioning of kidneys, bladder and ureters.
- Retrograde Urethrography – A dye is put in the bladder to check if it moves towards the kidneys (retrograde motion).
- Voiding CystoUrethrography (VCUG) – this test show the actual size of the bladder and it’s capacity to drain the urine.
Treating bladder infections
Typical treatment for bladder infections include administration of antibiotics. Mild relief from symptoms may be seen within a day of starting the antibiotics, but make sure you complete the full course as advised by your doctor.
Women may have to take a longer dose (may be up to a week) to clear the infection completely. In case of heavier infections or if you are suffering from diabetes, the duration of course will be longer. If the bladder infection is due to prostate infection, antibiotics may have to be continued for several weeks.
What you can do at home if you have bladder infection?
- Avoid sex
- Drink more water – though you have to visit toilet more number of times, this helps you flush out the infection. Avoid caffeine and spicy foods that can aggravate the symptoms.
- Take pain killers – don’t self medicate, ask your doctor if the pain in unbearable.
- Use heating pad on your lower abdomen (where your bladder is located).
How can you prevent bladder infection?
- Avoid usage of deodorized soaps, perfumes or any other chemicals on/near your vagina.
- If you feel the urge to pee, just go. Holding it back for any reason may cause more pain.
- Drink plenty of fluids – as said, this helps in flushing out the infection from the bladder.
- Make it a habit to pee after having sex. This clears the urethra.
- Make sure you wipe your bottom (if you are in the western world) completely and neatly. If you can, take a quick shower and clean the area.
- Wear cotton underpants that can absorb sweat/moisture.
- Let the groin area dry after taking bath and then put your underpants on. Moisture can harbor the growth of microbes.
If you have bladder infection or if you have pain or burning sensation when peeing, it should go away in a day or maximum of 2 days. If not, you have to see a doctor. Don’t hesitate to get the required tests done because a good urologist/urogynecologist will prescribe tests only when he/she suspects something more than bladder infection. Better to be sure than sorry!