Many women know that the classic signs of a bladder infection, or cystitis, include burning during urination or feeling the urge to urinate when your bladder is empty. These are reliable signs to watch for, but they aren’t the only ones.
Bladder infections can be mysterious. Some women don’t have any symptoms at all, but find out they have an infection after a routine urine test (such as during pregnancy). Usually, however, your body will give you an indication that something is going on — but you have to know what to look for:
- Getting up at night to urinate: If you normally sleep all night without an problem, but are suddenly waking to use the bathroom, this could mean you have a bladder infection.
- Fever without other cause: If you spike a fever and aren’t sick (like with a cough, vomiting, or other obvious illness) this is a flag that you should call your doctor. It can be attributed to a bladder infection that has spread to the kidneys, or it could be another cause. Either way, a fever is a sign that your body is fighting an infection somewhere.
- Back pain: Lower back pain on both sides or in the middle could be pain coming from your kidneys. This can mean that a bladder infection spread to your kidneys — so call your physician right away.
- Urine that smells strong or looks cloudy: You probably know what’s normal for you — so anything out of the ordinary warrants a call to your gynecologist. Although blood in the urine is another possible symptom, it is relatively rare. If there is blood present, it typically can’t be seen without a microscope.
A bladder infection is fairly simple to detect. A painless urine test done in your physician’s office can check for bacteria and red or white blood cells in the urine. If your gynecologist finds evidence of infection, you will likely be treated with an appropriate antibiotic. This is because bladder infections can spread to the kidneys and cause permanent kidney damage.
If you have recurrent bladder infections, talk with your gynecologist about ways you can help prevent them. Some women take antibiotics for longer periods, or are prescribed an antibiotic to use after sexual intercourse (a common trigger for bladder infections). Some preventive measures, such as drinking plenty of water, emptying your bladder when you feel the urge to go, always wiping from front to back, and urinating after sex can also be helpful.
CarePoint Health Gynecology
With the help of a skilled gynecologist at CarePoint Health, you can make educated decisions about your health to be at your best at any stage of life. For more information about the comprehensive women’s services we provide, please contact us.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.