Bladder Infection - What it is and what causes it?
Bladder infections are very common and it is estimated that 10-20% of women have at least one bladder infection per year. It is caused by bacteria, most often E. coli, having entered the bladder via the urethra (tube that transports urine from the bladder outside of the body) which then latch onto the bladder lining causing irritation and inflammation, which in turn can then cause pain and discomfort.
Women suffer from bladder infections much more frequently than men because the opening to the urethra is relatively closer to the anus than in men, which is the most likely source of E. coli.
Good vs Bad Bacteria
Once this bacteria manages to enter the bladder, if the person is adequately hydrated by drinking plenty of liquids, urine flow will usually be plentiful enough to wash out the bacteria before it can get established and cause the symptoms of a bladder infection. In addition, having good levels of beneficial or healthy bacteria (probiotics) which naturally live in the urinary tract will also act as protection against bladder infection by 'bad' bacteria. If these defence systems are not in place or fail, then the bacteria are able to attach themselves to the bladder wall and cause irritation.
Bladder infection symptoms
This irritation leads to some or all of the following bladder infection symptoms:
- Passing urine causes a burning sensation
- The need to pass urine increases in frequency
- A feeling of heaviness or pain in the lower pelvis
- Lower back or abdominal pain (sometimes in the side too)
- Fever, chills or nausea
- Sexual intercourse may cause pain
- Cloudy or darker urine than usual (occasionally accompanied with strong odour)
How is a bladder infection treated?
If the body's own barriers fail and a bladder infection develops, it is essential that it be treated with either antibiotics or am effective home or natural remedy for bladder infection, as it is possible for the bacteria causing the infection, like E. coli, to continue travelling further up the urinary tract to the kidney, which may then cause a kidney infection which is much more serious.
Medical Treatment for Bladder Infections
If you visit your GP or doctor, the bladder infection treatment you will be prescribed is antibiotic therapy. This aims to kill off bacteria causing the symptoms of bladder infection and is usually a week long course. However, in recent years it has been discovered that over prescription of antibiotics has lead to bacteria developing resistance to these medications, so they do not work as effectively.
Drawbacks of Antibiotics for Treating Bladder Infections
This is why sometimes even though a course of antibiotics is prescribed they may not always get rid of the infection or they only partially rid you of the symptoms. Unfortunately, the broad spectrum ability of antibiotics to kill off numerous bacteria means they will have a similar effect on your healthy beneficial bacteria in the gut, vagina and urinary tract too, which as discussed earlier are part of your defence system. This can leave you more prone to future infections, occasionally leading to repeated bladder infections.
What are the Natural Remedies for Bladder Infections?
The most well known natural or home remedy for the treatment of bladder infection is cranberry juice or a cranberry extract in a supplement. Certain substances in cranberries help prevent the 'bad' bacteria from attaching to the bladder lining. However, if an infection is already established, this treatment may not be strong enough to banish the infection.
A more effective natural treatment for bladder infections is D-Mannose. This glyconutrient (a type of healthy natural sugar) has been studied in the laboratory and it is known to attract some bacteria, particularly E. coli, latching onto it so that the infection will be passed out via the urine.
We've teamed up with the friendly folk at JustBuyOnline as our recommended D-Mannose supplier. All orders are delivered free of charge and sent out the same day if ordered by 4pm.