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Urinary Bladder Infection

Other Risk Factors



Urinary Bladder Infection

Bladder infection is inflammation of the walls of the bladder, usually caused by bacteria.  When the bladder becomes infected and inflamed, this is medically known as cystitis (cis-TIE-tis).

Bladder Infection

Cystitis tends to affect more women than men.  For some women, bladder infection is a recurring problem.  As a matter of fact, 10 to 20 percent of all women experience a urinary bladder infection at least once a year. 

...Buy why does it disproportionately affect more women than men?


urinary system

The female anatomy is the primary reason why more women are affected by cystitis than men.  In women, not only is the urethra short but it is very close to the anus and the vagina. (The urethra is the tube that takes urine from the bladder, out of the body.)

Because of its location in women, it is much easier for intestinal and/ or vaginal bacteria to get into the opening of the urethra and travel up to the bladder, causing infection.

Apart from anatomy, there are other reasons why women tend to be at greater risk of bladder infection.

For instance, pregnancy, sexual intercourse and hormone imbalance can all contribute to the increased susceptibility of women to cystitis.

Other Risk Factors

In addition to the factors outlined above, which are unique to women, there are other things that can increase the likelihood of a bladder infection.  Stress, poor diet or anything that weakens the immune system can increase the risk of an infection.

Frequent use of antibiotics is one of the most common risk factors.  While antibiotics are commonly prescribed to treat cystitis, it can also leave the bladder vulnerable to future bacterial invasion.  The repeated use of these medications tend to also destroy good bacteria, which are needed to fight infections.

Prescription Drugs


The symptoms of bladder infection can be very uncomfortable and irritating.   Some common symptoms include the following:

  • Pain or burning during urination;

  • Cramps in the abdomen or lower back;

  • Nausea or vomiting;

  • Fever;

  • Frequent need to urinate;

  • Scanty flow or urine or dribbling


Drinking Water

One of easiest and most effective strategies for fighting bladder infection is to increase urine output, by drinking a lot of water.  As a guide, try drinking one 6 – 8-ounce glass of water every waking hour.  This will help to flush out the bacteria.

The conventional treatment protocol is a course of antibiotics.  


However, given the risk associated with antibiotics and reoccurrence of bladder infection, you should ask your doctor whether they are really necessary.  In some cases, depending on the severity of the infection, antibiotics are required.

If you must take antibiotics, try to have a cup of live unsweetened yogurt for every day that you on antibiotics.  It helps to return good bacteria to your body.

Other natural options include:


  • Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice often, as it helps to keep bacteria from clinging to the lining of the bladder and urethra.

  • Drinking 10 – 8-ounces of blueberry juice may help to expel bacteria from the urinary tract.

  • Natural diuretics can also help to flush out infections.  Eat a lot of watermelon, celery, or parsley (or juice them).

  • Garlic is also a potent infection fighter.  Use it in clear soups or other meals.

Fruit Juice

If you have bladder infection, AVOID the following:

  • Refined sugars, as they tend to depress the immune system and encourage the growth of bacteria.

  • Spicy, salty, processed or refined foods and caffeine, as they can aggravate the problem.

  • Sodas (whether made from natural or artificial sweeteners.  Women who frequently consume sodas (sugary or diet), tend to experience recurring bladder infections.

If ever you begin to experience the symptoms associated with bladder infection, increase your water consumption and make appropriate changes to your diet.  If the symptoms do not improve or they get worse, consult your doctor immediately.


If a bladder infection is not treated soon enough, it can spread to the kidneys, resulting in kidney infection, medically known as pyelonephritis (PI-low-nef-ri-tis).  This can be a much more serious condition than cystitis (bladder infection).

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