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Bladder Blunders

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

A bladder infection isn’t something that you should take lightly. Pranika Sharma tells you how to identify and prevent the painful and even embarrassing condition

Abladder infection usually results when bacteria enters our urinary tract and multiplies. You can get a bladder infection if you’ve used an unhygienic bathroom, from improper grooming habits or even if you have an unhealthy metabolism. Generally, the defence mechanisms of our body don’t allow bacteria to pass through the urinary tract and reach the bladder, but weakened immune systems can allow bacteria to enter and attach itself to the bladder walls, causing inflammation, resulting in a bladder infection. Here we tell you how to reduce your chances of suffering from this condition.

WHO IS SUSCEPTIBLE?

Bladder infections are more common in women than in men, since women have a shorter urethra, which allows the bacteria to come into contact with the urinary tract more easily. Frequent sexual intercourse, sexual intercourse with multiple partners, using diaphragms for birth control and not maintaining hygiene or using unsanitary bathrooms are common causes of bladder infections in women. Pregnant and menopausal women, too, are susceptible to bladder infections due to hormonal imbalances and excessive pressure on the bladder, causing it not to empty out completely, which allows bacteria to grow within the bladder.

In men, bladder infections are usually caused due to a prostate infection, in which the infection spreads to the bladder or the inflammation of the prostate presses into the bladder.

However, there are a few common factors that can increase the risk of suffering from a bladder infection, for both men and women. Age is a factor that plays a major role in bladder infection. This is because with age, the body’s immunity tends to weaken.

PREVENTIVE STEPS

You may not be able to avoid a bladder infection altogether, but you can reduce your chances of suffering from one by incorporating these simple precautions in your day-to-day routine.

  • Drink water: Drinking water flushes out bacteria from the urinary tract, keeping it healthy.
  • Urinate frequently: Urinating frequently keeps your system clean,  and it won’t allow the bacteria to grow. 
  • Don’t hold it in: Holding in urine gives bacteria an environment in which to grow and multiply.
  • Use sanitary toilets: It is important to use hygienic and clean toilets so that you don’t pick up any bacteria that can infect your urinary tract.
  • Take showers instead of baths: Showers help wash out all germs and bacteria from the body, so avoid soaking in the tub.
  • Maintain good personal hygiene: Shower every day and make sure to scrub and wash yourself well to avoid the growth of bacteria due to sweat.
  • Extra precaution for women: Urinate immediately after sexual intercourse while also staying hydrated. Use methods of birth control other than a diaphragm.

DEALING WITH IT

A bladder infection can lead to cystitis, a condition in which your bladder swells up and gets inflamed. You will start to show symptoms such as the frequent need to visit the toilet, burning or stinging while urinating, pain in your bladder or lower back and blood in urine or bloody or cloudy urine. If not treated immediately, a bladder infection can spread and infect other parts of the urinary tract.

Bladder infections can be easily detected by identifying these signs and they are easily treated. Treatment is either a three-day or seven-day course of antibiotics given by your physician depending on your condition and the severity of the symptoms. After you finish the course, it is important to take precautions to avoid relapses.

Berry benefits

Three glasses of fresh cranberry juice every day is recommended to prevent bladder infections. Cranberries contain a compound called proanthocyanidins, which prevents bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall, preventing bladder and urinary tract infections. If you can’t get your hands on fresh cranberries, cranberry supplements are also available. Two tablets a day of any cranberry supplement over a period of time is said to reduce the growth of bacteria.

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