Bladder diseases: causes, diagnosis, and treatment
The urinary bladder is membranous sac whose primary purpose is to retain the urine generated by the body at the kidneys and discharge it out of the body through the urethra when it is full enough. It takes a “balloon form” and is located in the pelvis area. When full, the bladder swells forming a round shape that contracts upon releasing the urine. The desire to urinate is occasioned by the nerves from the bladder which convey a message to the brain signaling that it is full and that urine needs to be released. The bladder of a normal and healthy human being can store up to 2 cups of urine, for up to 5 hours. Having succinctly analyzed the functions of the bladder, the importance of this organ cannot be overemphasized. It helps in removing toxic substances that would otherwise harm the body if not flushed out.
Several microorganisms can cause bladder infections, but the most common culprits are gram-negative organisms and Ecoli is responsible for about 80 percent of cases in patients that are not on urinary catheters.
What does bladder pain mean?
Any person experiencing bladder pain should seek professional help from a physician as the consequences of ignoring the pain can be hazardous. A proper diagnosis should be obtained from a doctor and the problem tackled from its root source, and not merely treating symptoms. Back to our major topic of discussion, the major causes of bladder pain can be addressed as follows:
1. Bladder cancer
Even the mention of the name instills fear in most people. Bladder cancer is a malignant state occurring at the epithelial lining of the Urinary Bladder. It leads to the production of abnormal cells at the bladder which multiply thus hindering the normal functions of the bladder. This causes bladder pain and pigments of blood are normally visible in the urine of patients suffering from this condition. The pain is mostly encountered during urination. Bladder cancer is treated through surgery or by means of the highly dreaded procedure of chemotherapy.
2. Interstitial cystitis
Interstitial cystitis is an anomaly at the urinary bladder that is characterized by severe pain during urination and a need to urinate frequently. This disease has often been misdiagnosed to pass as a urinary tract infection. Even though the condition has no precise treatment, Elmiron has been accepted as a standard medication to counteract the debilitating effects of the disease. Interstitial cystitis does not discriminate between the sexes and it affects men as it does women.
3. Urinary tract infection
This is a bacterial infection that attacks the urinary tract causing severe pain during urination. The bacterial infection is caused by germs that are in the large intestines of the body. Unlike the other two conditions mentioned hereinabove, UTI is not as fatal as its counterparts. If not properly treated, however, it may spread towards the kidneys and this could be life-threatening.
Medical treatment should be sought as soon as such pains and symptoms are experienced
How can bladder infection be diagnosed and treated?
Normally, the bladder infection clears up and goes away on its own after about 2 – 3 days. If this does not happen, you need to consult your doctor. In fact, if you suspect bladder or urinary tract infection, you should consult a doctor right away, for prompt management of the situation, to avoid possible complications.
The doctor performs a dipstick test which is very quick and easy. He then prescribes the proper medication based on the cause found in the urine.
In cases where the cause of the infection cannot be ascertained or where there is a presence of more than one type of bacterium, a urine culture is carried out. In this case, the doctor collects fresh urine from the patient and sends it to the laboratory to be cultured, examined, and tested for some days. When the result of the culture is gotten, the doctor will then go ahead to prescribe the necessary treatment. Usually, antibiotics are prescribed to the patient.
How can you prevent bladder infection?
Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily to flush out toxins, improve metabolism, and keep the skin healthy and well moisturized. It is advised that at least, a glass of cranberry juice should be consumed daily. Cranberry is believed to prevent bacteria from attaching to the walls of the bladder, thereby decreasing the risk of infection.
Urine should be passed out after sex to flush out remnants of discharge which can promote bacteria growth
Ensure that you completely empty your bladder whenever you urinate to prevent urine retention and consequent stagnation. When cleaning up after toilet used, females are strongly advised to clean up from front to back to avoid transporting bacteria to the vagina which can easily find its way to the urethra. Good hygiene should be maintained at all times to decrease the risk of infection. Underwear should be mildly loose, comfortable, and clean at all times.
This article is written by licensed urologist Dr. Lorie G Fleck who is a highly qualified specialist. If you have any questions you can ask us through the feedback form and Dr. Lorie G Fleck will answer you within a working day. We care about every patient.