What is a Bladder Infection or Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
A bladder infection may also be referred to as a urinary tract infection, a UTI or cystitis. A one-off bladder infection is certainly nothing to worry about, but if you are having one or more bladder infections per year, you may want to be more proactive about preventing them and treating the root cause as to why you are susceptible to them. Antibiotic use, even if it’s only once per year, sets you up for bigger problems like antibiotic resistant bacteria, gut dysbiosis (overgrowth of unwanted gut bugs) and immune system dysfunction. Bladder infections are common in pregnant and elderly women and after a period of frequent intercourse. Emptying the bladder after intercourse will sometimes help prevent the latter type of urinary tract infecton, often referred to as “Honeymoon Cystitis”.
What are the Symptoms of a Bladder Infection or Urinary Tract Infection?
- Burning on urinating
- Frequent urination
- Painful peeing
- Blood in the urine (may not be visible to the naked eye)
- Bladder Incontinence
- Fever (sometimes)
- Back pain (sometimes)
- Abdominal pain (sometimes)
How Do You Test for a Bladder Infection or Urinary Tract Infection?
- Urinalysis – this is a quick test that can be done in my office to screen for red blood cells, white blood cells and the presence of certain types of bacteria in the urine via nitrites
- Urine Culture & Sensitivity – this test is used to grow the offending bacteria and test to see which antibiotics will work to defeat it. The test results take about 48 hours.
How Do You Treat a Bladder Infection or Urinary Tract Infection?
- Initial treatment for a bladder infection may include anti-microbial herbs like Barosma, Uva-ursi, Goldenseal and Cranberry
- Treating the underlying susceptibility to bladder infections may involve treatment with NAG, corn silk, cranberry, removal of food sensitivities and restoration of probiotic bacteria
What if a Bladder or Urinary Tract Infection is Left Untreated?
If it’s a low grade infection, possibly nothing, however, untreated bladder infections can progress upward into the kidneys, causing a kidney infection. This can be quite serious and can even permanently damage the kidneys. If you suspect that you may have a bladder infection, you should always see your medical doctor or your naturopathic doctor.
Probiotics and UTI’s
Increasing the amount of ‘good’ bacteria through probiotic administration may help prevent urinary tract infections. Lactobacilli may be especially helpful in women with recurrent UTIs and in those with prolonged antibiotic use.
Source: Recurrent urinary tract infections in women: How promising is the use of probiotics? Indian J Med Microbiol. 2017 Jul-Sep;35(3):347-354