Burning is one sign of bladder infection (and sexually transmitted diseases–another topic altogether). Bladder infections are common and uncomfortable. It is caused by a bacterial infection in the bladder. Symptoms are
- pain and/or urgency with urination,
- a sense of incomplete emptying of the bladder and
- increased frequency of urination (you may notice this most at nighttime).
Bladder infections are caused by bacteria getting into the urethra. You may ask “where are the bacteria?” There are bacteria that live near the urethra (where the urine comes out). Bacteria are also in the GI tract. If women wipe from back to front (think about it…) bacteria near the bottom can be moved into the vaginal/urethral area. You can also get a bladder infection if you hold your urine (instead of urinating when you feel the urge), have sex often, or are pregnant.
When should you see your doctor? Right away. You need to give a urine sample. The urine may need to be cultured to show which bacteria are present and what antibiotic it is sensitive to (which antibiotic will kill the bacteria). It takes 3 to 5 days to get a urine culture result because they need to grow out the bacteria from your sample in the lab.
Antibiotics treat bladder infections. 7 days of antibiotics used to be commonplace, now we know that 3 to 5 days of antibiotics should get rid of the infection in most cases. Drink more water to help push the urine through the kidneys. Call your doctor if pain not better in 36 hours, if you get worse, have a fever more than 100.4 degrees F. Rarely, patients need to go to the hospital for urinary tract infections or if the infection has traveled from the bladder up to the kidneys.
How to prevent? Drink plenty of fluids. Wipe from front to back (from urethra to rectum) anytime you use of the bathroom. Pee after intercourse (to flush any bacteria near the urethra out of it). Pee when you need to; don’t hold your urine. Wear cotton-lined panties. Don’t wear thong underwear if you get frequent bladder infections.
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