Bladder infection in women. The bladder is a storage place for urine and is located in the lower abdomen. The urine comes out through the urethra. If you have a bladder infection, the mucous membrane of the bladder is inflamed and sometimes the urethra also participates.
The risk of cystitis is greater in women than in men. This is because in women the urethra is shorter and the urethra is closer to the vagina and anus. This makes it easier for bacteria to get into the bladder.
Some women easily get a bladder infection, for example after having sex. The risk of cystitis is also greater during pregnancy.
Symptoms cystitis and urinary tract infection
You often have a burning or painful feeling when urinating. You have to go to the toilet more often, but there is always just a little. You may feel pressure or pain in the lower abdomen. The urine can sometimes smell unpleasant or look cloudy. Sometimes there may even be blood in the urine.
With bladder infection, one generally has no fever, at most some elevation (less than 38 degrees Celsius). It is also possible that you hardly have any complaints and you do not notice that you have a bladder infection.
However, if you feel very ill and have a high fever, you may also experience kidney pelvic infection in addition to a bladder infection.
How does a bladder infection develop?
A bladder infection is usually caused by bacteria. It is often bacteria that live in the intestines and enter the bladder through the urethra.
In particular, bacteria do not get a good chance to multiply sight. This can also happen if there is a deviation in the lower urinary tract (bladder outlet and urethra), for example, because there is always a little urine left behind where bacteria can grow well.
Furthermore, an underlying disease, such as diabetes, can make people more susceptible to cystitis. Sometimes it is a sexually transmitted bacterium, such as the Chlamydia bacterium, that causes the infection.
In addition, it also happens with women that they can have an earlier bladder infection after having sex. By peeing properly after having sex, that can be prevented.
A bladder infection can also occur due to chemical causes, such as (too much) use of soap and shampoo while washing the pubic area.
Bladder infection in women. Is it serious and what can you expect?
An uncomplicated bladder infection is not dangerous and easy to treat. If the doctor has diagnosed the disease, he will give you an antibiotic cure. As a result, the complaints will disappear.
In some cases, cystitis does not respond well to standard treatment. This may be due to an underlying disease or abnormality that hinders the outflow of urine, such as a kidney stone.
Although the treatment is successful, the bladder infection may return. There is then a ‘recurrent bladder infection’. In both cases, the underlying cause must be considered and treatment is required to prevent the bladder infection from getting worse.
Renal pelvic infection If the infection rises ‘from’ the bladder to the higher urinary tract, a renal pelvis infection may occur. This is more serious than a common bladder infection. You often feel much more sick about this. There is usually also more severe pain in one or both sides of the back, just below the ribs, (high) fever, chills and vomiting. The cause of renal pelvic infection may be an untreated or insufficiently treated bladder infection.
Pregnancy During pregnancy, cystitis can be treated well with antibiotics that are not harmful to the child. Proper treatment is especially important during pregnancy because it is more likely that the infection will rise and a kidney infection will occur.
When to the doctor?
If you have almost no symptoms, you can wait for the bladder infection to resolve itself. By drinking and peeing a lot, the bacteria are washed out of the bladder.
If you have multiple complaints, if the symptoms persist for a longer period of time or if you are pregnant, it is advisable to contact your doctor.
The doctor will examine your urine for bacteria by means of a stick. You must collect and carry some urine. This is best done by spreading labia and first urinating a little in the toilet before collecting the urine in a jar. This way you collect the ‘cleanest’ urine. Take this to the doctor within two hours; if this is not possible, you can store the urine in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
If the doctor has diagnosed a bladder infection, he will prescribe an antibiotic for a number of days. It is important to complete this course, even if you no longer have any complaints. For example, in the case of incomplete treatment, bacteria may be left behind that can cause a new infection.
If there is a recurrent urinary tract infection, then the doctor may consider growing the urine to determine which bacterium is the cause of the infection. Another antibiotic will then be given for which the bacterium is sensitive. The GP will also assess whether it is necessary to investigate further the causes.
What can you do about it yourself?
It is important to drink a lot; try to drink at least two liters a day. This will cause you to pee a lot and rinse the bladder.
In addition, it is important to urinate properly so that some urine is not left in the bladder. If you suffer from cystitis after intercourse, make sure that you urinate right after intercourse.
Wiping the toilet from the vagina to the anus (from the front to the back) or taking vitamin pills has, according to research, no additional positive effect on the development of cystitis
General advice and precautions for cystitis
You can prevent cystitis by drinking a lot (at least two liters) daily. Pee regularly and pee your bladder well. This way you prevent the bacteria from multiplying. It is also better not to hold your pee too long. After having sex, urinate as quickly and as well as possible.
If you have a sexually transmitted disease, it is advisable to use a condom during intercourse. This way you can prevent the bacteria from being transferred to your partner.
Source: Mrs. Drs. S. Motshagen (author) Dr. HFM Karthaus (consultant)