Recurrent Bladder Infections

Bladder Infections that Occur More than Twice in Six Months or Three Times in One Year Are Considered Recurrent

A bladder infection (or cystitis) is defined as an infected or inflamed bladder. Women are more prone to bladder infections because their anatomy (the urethra is shorter in women) makes it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder.

According to the American Urological Association, approximately 40% of women will have at least one urinary tract infection. When women have an infection more than twice in six months or three times in one year, they are considered to be patients with recurrent bladder infections.

Risk Factors for Recurrent Bladder Infections

While many women will experience a bladder infection at some point in their lives, some women are more prone to getting recurrent bladder infections. These include:

  • Women who use diaphragms
  • Women who use condoms, along with spermicidal foam
  • Women with urinary tract abnormalities
  • Recent use of a urinary catheter
  • Women with diabetes
  • Postmenopausal women
  • Taking certain medications that weaken the immune system
  • Not being able to fully empty the bladder

Symptoms of Recurrent Bladder Infections

It’s important to be aware of the symptoms and signs of a bladder infection. See a doctor if you notice:

  • Cloudy urine or urine with an odor
  • Painful urination
  • Urinary frequency or feeling the urge to urinate
  • A feeling of hesitancy to urinate
  • Pelvic pain
  • Inability to completely empty the bladder
  • Urinary incontinence (involuntary loss of urine)
  • Blood in the urine
  • chills, vomiting, nausea

Recurrent Bladder Infections Testing

When you experience symptoms of a bladder infection, it’s important to see your doctor to determine if you have an infection. When bladder infections are left untreated, they can become very serious and lead to a kidney infection. Left untreated, bladder infections can cause damage to the kidneys.

In addition, if you are having recurrent bladder infections, Dr. J. Kyle Mathews will work with you to determine the cause of these recurrent infections and to develop a treatment plan. We know that nobody wants to deal with the constant pain and inconvenience of these infections.

Urinalysis helps diagnose bladder infections and also helps us determine what type of infection you have. In addition, when women have recurrent bladder infections, Dr. Mathews may perform a physical examination to determine if there is an anatomical issue that could be causing the infections. Some patients may need additional blood tests or a CT scan or ultrasound of their kidneys.

Treatment Options for Recurrent Bladder Infections

The usual treatment for bladder infections is antibiotics, but when a woman has recurrent bladder infections, Dr. Mathews may recommend additional courses of treatment.

Dr. Mathews will determine the best antibiotic treatment based on your history. He may also recommend a preventive course of antibiotics where you take a low dose of antibiotics each day for a time to help prevent future infections.

For some women, sexual intercourse plays a part in recurrent bladder infections, so Dr. Mathews may recommend a different form of birth control to replace diaphragms or spermicidal foams. He may even recommend taking an antibiotic after intercourse.
In postmenopausal women, it’s sometimes helpful to use hormone replacement therapy to replace the estrogen that has been lost and is consequently causing changes in the vaginal and uterine lining.

The most important thing to know about recurrent bladder infections: Do not ignore them.

Infections are not only uncomfortable, but they can also lead to more serious consequences. Dr. Mathews helps women with the problem of recurrent bladder infections by determining and administering the best treatment for each person. Contact Dr. Mathews to learn more.