Bladder infections. For some they’re easy to identify, with burning, itching and pain when you go to the bathroom. Others might not realize they have a problem until they see another concerning symptom – blood in their urine. Bladder or urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the most common bacterial infection. It’s difficult to accurately assess how many people experience UTIs because they are not a reportable disease in the U.S. Nevertheless, an estimated 10 million annual visits to the doctor or emergency department are attributed to this medical issue.
Bladder infections most commonly include burning with urination, urinating frequently, the urge to urinate more often than normal, and incontinence in some cases. Occasionally you may see a small amount of blood caused by the infection, and that’s reason to call your doctor immediately. Many CHI Memorial Medical Group practices maintain same day appointment availability for issues like these.
Women are more likely to get bladder infections than men because their urethra is shorter, which decreases the distance bacteria must travel to reach the bladder. And women who’ve gone through menopause may be more vulnerable to infection because decreasing estrogen can lead to changes in the urinary tract. It’s very common for elderly women who have bladder prolapse to hold additional urine that elevates their risk for infections. There may be ways to prevent bladder infections in the first place – through exercises that improve the strength of pelvic floor muscles and the use of thin catheters that help your bladder empty completely. Men also may experience an enlarged prostate that’s narrowing the urine stream.
If you’re suffering from recurring bladder infections, there must be a reason for it – including improper urine retention, kidney stones, use of a catheter, abnormal anatomy of the urinary tract or recent sexual contact. It’s important to talk with your doctor about why the infections continue, understand what’s happening and determine the underlying cause to help prevent rather than merely treat the condition. Changes can be as simple as ensuring proper hydration, reducing caffeine intake, and complete voiding (meaning completely emptying your bladder). When bladder infections persist, you may need a referral to a urologist to determine if you have any predisposing factors for infection.
CHI Memorial Urology Associates has 10 experienced urologists specially trained to diagnose and provide medical and surgical treatment for problems like incontinence, urinary tract infections, kidney stone disease, infertility and impotency, disorders of the prostate, bladder and kidneys and a range of other urologic issues. For an appointment call (423) 697-0072. Virtual visits are available.