For some reasons unknown, some women get bladder infections repeatedly. This is called chronic cystitis. According to Dr. Robert Pugach, a Medical Director at Pacific Coast Urology Medical Center, the main key in preventing infections is urinating. Urinating several times daily prevents bladder infections by flushing bacteria out of the urethra.
Contact a urology doctor in your area if you are having any of these symptoms.
Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Bacterial infections affect the lower and upper urinary tract. The lower urinary tract infection is considered a simple cystitis (bladder infection). These symptoms consist of:
- Painful urination
- Frequent urination
- Urge to urinate
- Lower abdominal pain and pressure
- Urine is cloudy, dark or smells strong
Symptoms of upper urinary tract infection technically recognized as pyelonephritis (kidney infection):
- Back pain under the side ribs where the kidneys are located
- Fever and chills
- Nausea and vomiting
- Along with the symptoms of a bladder infection
Causes of UTIs
Women are more prone to UTIs because the urethra in women is shorter than the urethra in men. The urethra is the tube that carries the urine from your bladder to the outside of your body. Germs get into your system through the urethra. The germs commonly causing infection is the ones found in your stool. These germs come from wiping from back to front and gets inside the urethra, then travels to the bladder and possibly the kidneys. If left untreated, may lead to serious health risks or fatality. Other causes of UTIs should be taken into consideration:
- Sex can push germs into the urethra
- Not drinking enough water
- If you have diabetes
- If you are pregnant
- Lack of good personal hygiene
Another cause of chronic cystitis is a decrease in estrogen. It is possible for one to experience chronic UTI symptoms without actually having a bladder infection. This hormonal change causes vaginal tissue to decrease and the urethra to narrow. Urethral changes can affect the bladder with continuing inflammation and bladder muscle irritation.
Dr. Pugach, has treats many female patients who are diagnosed with UTIs. Although their urine cultures are negative, and show red and white blood cells but no bacteria, the patient is still prescribed antibiotics. Unfortunately, the treatment is short-term relief of the symptoms before returning within a month. Typically, this is a very discouraging, as it is chronic.
At Pacific Coast Urology Medical Center, Dr. Pugach, specializes in many bladder control problems in women and treats this circumstance with an in office procedure. This procedure gently stretches and brings the urethra back to its original size and only takes about two minutes. To soften the urethra, estrogen cream is used and antibiotics are prescribed to help heal the bladder. After the procedure, patients may experience a mild burning sensation while urinating for about 1-2 days. Shortly after, the symptoms of UTI will dissipate.