- Bladder Infection (Urinary Tract Infection, UTI) in Females Causes
Symptoms of a bladder infection in females include:
- Pain or a burning sensation on urination
- Urinary urgency
- Urinary frequency
- Urinary leakage (incontinence)
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Pelvic pain or discomfort
- Urine that's dark or cloudy
- Strong-smelling urine
- Feeling unwell (malaise)
- Fever or chills
What Causes a Bladder Infection in Females?
Bladder infections are caused by bacteria that get into the urethra and travel up into the bladder. Bladder infections are more common in females due to the shorter distance from the anus to the urethra.
Risk factors for developing bladder infections in females include:
- History of urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Wiping the bottom from back to front after having a bowel movement
- Frequent or recent sexual intercourse
- Use of spermicide-coated condoms, diaphragms, or spermicides alone for birth control
- Conditions such as kidney stones or ureteral reflux that block or change the flow of urine in the kidneys
- Structural or functional urinary tract abnormalities
- Having a urinary catheter
- A genetic predisposition to UTIs
How Is a Bladder Infection in Females Diagnosed?
Bladder infections in females are diagnosed with a urine test.
- Urine culture
Recurrent bladder infections may require additional testing to check for abnormalities in the kidneys, ureter, bladder, or urethra, or for kidney stones. Tests may include:
What Is the Treatment for a Bladder Infection in Females?
Bladder infections are usually treated with antibiotics. Untreated UTIs can lead to complications, so it is important to see your doctor to get an appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
Medications to treat bladder infections include:
Medications to numb the bladder and urethra and reduce the burning pain of some UTIs include:
- Phenazopyridine (Pyridium which is available by prescription, or Uristat, which is available over-the-counter [OTC])
Home remedies to relieve symptoms of a bladder infection include:
- Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Adequate fluid intake
- Urinate frequently (don’t hold it in, which gives bacteria more time to multiply)
- Avoid sexual intercourse
- Use a hot water bottle on the lower abdomen or between the thighs
- Wear loose clothing
Cranberry juice is often billed as a home remedy for UTIs, but there are no good studies on the effectiveness of cranberry juice for treating a bladder infection.
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