- Programs & Services
- Education & Resources
- Get Involved
- Satellite Locations
Urinary infections are caused by the growth of bacteria in the bladder. Usually the bladder is germ-free. Sometimes, however, bacteria travel up the urethra (the canal through which urine is eliminated) and reach the bladder, causing cystitis (a urinary infection). Women have shorter urethras than men, so they are more at risk of infection. In fact, 1 woman out of 5 will suffer from at least 1 episode of cystitis in her lifetime.
People with cystitis usually experience some of the following symptoms:
On occasion, cystitis can go completely unnoticed. In such circumstances, only urine analysis can detect the problem.
Bacteria cause cystitis, so antibiotics are the only drugs that can treat it. In addition to antibiotic therapy, you should also:
There is also a drug called “Phenazo” that can be prescribed to relieve the pain often associated with cystitis. This agent is used only for the first few days, while the patient waits for the antibiotic to kick in and it is available only with a prescription.
Depending on which antibiotic is used, the treatment can last 3, 7, or 10 days. Three-day courses are mostly used to treat first-time or mild infections. This shorter course is not recommended for men, pregnant women, or women who frequently have cystitis. A urine analysis is sometimes performed after drug therapy is completed to make sure that the infection is really gone.
Pyelonephritis is a kidney infection. In its acute form, it often follows cystitis when the bacteria present in the bladder ascend the ureters to reach the kidneys. The slowing down of the urinary flow, caused by the presence of a urinary stone or malformation, also promotes the multiplication of bacteria in the bladder and their ascent to the kidneys. Chronic pyelonephritis, which is more rare and develops slowly, may lead to kidney atrophy and kidney failure.