The Benefits of Bladder Infection Testing
Bladder infection diagnosis is the first step towards accessing treatment for the persistent discomfort that this condition can cause. Bladder infections are a type of urinary tract infection (UTI), which refers to an infection anywhere along the urinary tract. Such infections could stem from the kidneys, bladder, urethra, or ureters.
Most bladder infections are acute, which means they occur suddenly. However, bladder infections can be chronic, recurring frequently on a long-term basis. Diagnostic tests for UTI, or bladder infection tests, are the key to preventing the infection’s spread.
This post will discuss how to check for a bladder infection, bladder infection tests, and the causes and symptoms of bladder infections. We’re advocates for preventative care, and bladder infection testing can help millions of people to prevent chronic recurring bladder infections throughout their lives.
What Causes Bladder Infections?
Bladder infections are caused by bacteria that enter the body via the urethra and move into the bladder. This bacteria is typically flushed from the body during urination. However, it can sometimes attach to the walls of the bladder, spreading and multiplying quickly. As bacteria multiply, the body becomes overwhelmed and unable to destroy them, which results in a bladder infection.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases, most bladder infections are caused by E.Coli. This type of bacteria is naturally present inside the large intestines.
Sometimes, an infection occurs when stool bacteria is spread onto the skin and enters the urethra. In women, the outside opening of the urethra is close to the anus, making it easily accessible for bacteria moving from one body system to another.
Symptoms of Bladder Infections
Before we discuss how to test for a bladder infection, let’s examine some of the common symptoms related to this condition. Sometimes, urinary tract infections have no symptoms. However, when they do, they can include:
- A burning sensation when passing urine
- A strong, persistent urge to urinate
- Regularly passing small amounts of urine
- Urine that appears pink, red, or the color of cola (this is a sign there is blood present in the urine)
- Cloudy urine
- Urine that smells strong
- Pelvic pain in women can be especially prominent in the center of the pelvis and around the pubic bone.
In older adults, UTIs can be overlooked or mistaken for other conditions. Therefore, lab tests for UTIs are often recommended.
How to Diagnose a Bladder Infection
You may be wondering, ‘how do they test for a bladder infection?’
There are several types of bladder infection testing:
During this process, your physician will conduct a physical examination and discuss your symptoms. This could be enough to establish whether or not you have a bladder infection.
If not, you’ll need a urine analysis. Bladder infection tests search for pus, blood, or bacteria in a urine sample. Your doctor may also decide to run a urine culture, identifying which bacteria are causing your infection.
Getting a bladder infection now and again can be bothersome, but it doesn’t usually reflect a severe health concern. However, sometimes it’s vital to find the root cause of the infection, as medicine alone may not be enough to eliminate it.
You may require more advanced bladder infection testing if you belong to one of these groups:
- Men (As men tend not to get bladder infections, they could be a sign of more severe health problems)
- People who have kidney damage
- Women who have blood in their urine or are diagnosed with three or more bladder infections in 12 months.
To determine the cause of a bladder infection, your doctor can choose:
- Imaging: A CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound can show kidney stones, tumors, and other issues.
- Cystoscopy: During this bladder infection testing process, your doctor inserts a cystoscope inside your urethra and searches for problems. They may also retrieve a small tissue sample for further testing (biopsy)
- Retrograde Urethrography: This test uses contrast dye to highlight issues in the urethra.
- Voiding Cystourethrography: Your physician adds a dye to your bladder to see if any urine is flowing backward from the bladder in the direction of the kidneys.
- Intravenous Urogram (IVU): This is a type of X-ray that uses contrast dye to take images of the bladder, ureters, and kidneys.
How to Treat a Bladder Infection
Antibiotics are the leading method of treatment for urinary tract infections. Which antibiotics are prescribed and for how long depends on the type of bacteria found in your urine and your overall health condition.
The group of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones, such as Levofloxacin and Ciprofloxacin, is not commonly recommended to treat uncomplicated UTIs. This is because the risks outweigh the benefits in terms of side effects.
However, if you have an advanced or complicated UTI, your doctor may prescribe a Fluoroquinolone medication after all other treatment options have been exhausted.
If you are experiencing continuous UTIs and medication doesn’t seem to be helping, our molecular UTI testing could help identify the bacteria causing your infection and outline the right treatment options. Contact us today for more information.