Bladder infections, urinary tract infections (UTIs) and cystitis are all names used to refer to the same condition, which affect one in four women. Generally, bladder infections are not serious if they are treated right away.
If left untreated, however, they can turn into kidney infections which can lead to kidney damage. Pregnant women are particularly at increased risk from week six through 24.
Why Bladder Infections Affect Women?
Doctors surmise that women are more prone to UTIs than men because of their relatively short urethra, the tube through which urine drains from the body. Because this tube is so short, bacteria have an easier time finding the bladder.
Also, the opening to the urethra is close to the vagina and the anus, which makes it easy for bacteria from those areas to get into the urinary tract.
In pregnancy, “The uterus sits directly on top of the bladder. As the uterus grows, its increased weight can block the drainage of urine form the bladder.” (American Pregnancy Association) Bacteria builds up in the undrained urine and develops into an infection.
Bladder Infection Symptoms in Women
Not everyone experiences symptoms of a urinary tract infection, but symptoms may include:
• Strong, persistent urge to urinate
• A burning sensation when urinating
• Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
• Urine that appears cloudy
• Urine that appears pink or cola colored (blood in the urine)
• Urine that smells strongly of ammonia (more so than usual)
• Pelvic pain (MayoClinic)
There are three types of urinary tract infection depending on which part of the urinary tract is infected.
If the urethra is infected (urethritis), then there is usually a burning sensation with urination. If the bladder is affected (cystitis), there could be pelvic pressure, lower abdominal discomfort, frequent, painful urination, and blood in the urine.
If the kidneys are affected, then symptoms may include pain in the upper back and side, high fever, shaking and chills, nausea, vomiting.