Our bladder is a flexible, muscular organ responsible for storing the waste product known as urine until it’s ready for excretion via the urethra. It has three layers of muscular walls that are flexible; they contract when we urinate. These muscular walls expand as the bladder fills up with urine. In men, the urethra is about 8 inches long, while in women, the urethra is only about 1.5 inches long. When it’s empty, the bladder is only about the shape and size of a pear. And interestingly, we start feeling the urge to urinate when our bladder is only about halfway full. Our bladder, however, can hold just about a pint of urine.
A condition that may develop in the bladder is an infection. Most cases of bladder infections are acute–in other words, they develop suddenly. However, some cases can be chronic, or recurring over an extended period of time. According to Healthline, the key to preventing a bladder infection from spreading is treating it early.
Bladder infections are a type of urinary tract infection (UTI). They’re most frequently caused by a bacterial infection in the bladder, but can also be caused by yeast in individuals with compromised immune systems. The conditions symptoms depend based on its severity, though you’ll instantly notice changes in your urinary patterns. Other signs may include:
- Bloody or cloudy urine
- Pain or burning sensations while urinating
- Foul-smelling urine
- Cramping or pressure in your lower back or abdomen
- “Urgency,” or the sensation of needing to urinate often
- “Frequency,” or urinating more frequently than usual
If your bladder infection spreads, it can also cause pain in the middle of your back; this is a sign that your kidneys are infected as well. The pain will be consistent despite your position or activity, unlike a muscular pain.
Healthline says that most bladder infections will subside within 48 hours of taking whatever antibiotic your doctor prescribes for you, though chronic bladder infections need a combination of antibiotics and “more aggressive, preventative measures.” What’s most important, they highlight, is seeking treatment as soon as possible, as it makes it less likely for the infection to spread and more likely that you’ll feel better, quicker.
The Ezra torso and full-body scans screen your bladder for cancerous and precancerous states, like polyps. If you’d like to learn more about our screening options, you may do so at the following link.