Urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common infections in the community, accounting for an estimated 7 to 10 million adult physician office visits each year in the USA . The urinary tract comprises of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Urinary tract infections are twice as common in women as men, and around 50 % of women have at least one episode of UTI in their lifetime. The high prevalence of UTI in children, women and the elderly, and the need for antibiotic therapy results in a significant public health problem with considerable personal impact on the individual’s life.
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What is Bladder Infection?
The urinary bladder is normally sterile. The presence of disease causing bacteria, or uropathogens, in the bladder leads to bladder infection or acute cystitis, characterized by an inflammatory reaction of the bladder to the bacteria.
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What are the causes of Bladder Infection?
The causes of bladder infection are:
1. Bacteria: Escherichia coli (75–80 %), other bacteria like Proteus, Klebsiella and Enterococcus.
2. Viral cystitis due to adenovirus is sometimes seen in children but is rare in adults.
3. Fungus: A lesser known cause can be yeast, or organisms of the Candida species.
Cystitis in men is rare and implies an associated urinary condition as infected stones, prostatitis, or chronic urinary retention. Urinary infections are more common in women than men possibly due to the short length of the urethra, making it possible for external bacteria to ascend quickly into the tract. The pathogenic bacteria can also be pushed into the urethra and therefrom into the bladder during sexual intercourse. Among women, pregnant, menopausal and contraceptive using women are at more risk of getting bladder infection. Children and the elderly are also prone to get bladder infection easily.
What are the symptoms of Bladder Infection?
The most common symptoms of bladder infection are painful urination (dysuria), pain in lower abdomen just above the pubis area (suprapubic pain), needing to urinate frequently, urgency (unable to hold urine), hesitancy (difficulty in initiating urination), and incomplete voiding. Fever may occur sometimes. Rarely, there may be blood in urine. Presence of high fever, blood in urine, chills and pain in lower back signify the spread of the infection to the kidneys, and require emergency treatment.
The connection between Bladder Infection and Yeast:
A yeast, Candida albicans, is responsible for the majority of fungal infections in the urinary tract. With the exception of the yeast called Candida, the urinary tract infection is rarely caused by fungal infections. Rare fungal diseases, such as aspergillosis may involve the urinary tract but are often part of disseminated disease in immunocompromised patients, like organ transplant or HIV patients.
Although this yeast is normally found in the human body and on human skin, it can infect different organs, leading to Candidiasis. Commonly affected areas are skin, penis, vulva and vagina, throat, mouth and in severe cases blood, leading to sepsis. Yeast is the most common infectious agent causing inflammation of the glans penis Sometimes the Candida can be present in the urine without any symptoms, known as asymptomatic candiduria. The yeast infections have increased dramatically over the last few decades due to use of broad-spectrum antibiotics. Bladder infection due to yeast has also become common due to increase in indwelling vascular and urinary catheters, and corticosteroid and immunosuppressant therapies.
Can I get bladder infection after Yeast Infection?
Although Candida infection can spread to the urinary tract through blood, it can also ascend into the bladder from the urethral opening. Thus, if there is yeast infection in the vagina and vulva, it is possible to get a bladder infection. Since genitourinary yeast infections are common in women, the difference in the symptoms must be understood. The Candidal vaginitis or vulvitis present with itching and sensitivity to touch in the vaginal and vulval area. If untreated, a thick, curdy, foul-smelling vaginal discharge appears. If the urinary bladder gets infected, you will start having the urinary symptoms of pain or burning during urination, suprapubic pain, urgency, hesitancy, which are more severe urinary symptoms.
Can I Have Bladder Infection and Yeast Infection at the Same Time?
Yes, it is possible to have a bladder infection (of any cause) and yeast infection of the genital area simultaneously. Sometime presence of poor hygiene, diabetes or any reason for immunosuppression can cause both the infections at the same time.
Can Bladder Infection antibiotics cause Yeast Infection?
Yes, the antibiotic therapy for the UTI can exacerbate the yeast infection. Broad-range antibiotics are one of the reasons why yeast infections are rising. The antibiotics kill off the good bacteria that normally inhabit the vagina, leading to rise in the yeast population.
Can a Bladder Infection be mistaken for aYeast Infection?
Sometimes a yeast infection of the vagina may be mistaken for bladder infection and vice versa. It may sometimes be difficult to differentiate one from the other and lead to further delay in diagnosis. The itching of the urethral meatus (opening of the urethra) caused by the yeast may be mistaken for the burning sensation caused by the bladder infection. Irritation of the urethral opening with the thick discharge of candidiasis can lead to burning during urination.
Can a Bladder Infection give you a Yeast Infection?
It is unusual for bladder infection to give you a yeast infection per se. However, the treatment of bladder infection can disturb the normal vaginal flora, and lead to overgrowth of yeast. In fact studies have not shown any evidence that an altered vaginal bacterial flora predisposes women to recurrent episodes of yeast infection of the vagina in the absence of any antibiotic therapy .
Can an untreated Yeast Infection cause a Bladder Infection?
Yeast infection, when left untreated can infect the bladder and can further lead to serious complications. The candida cystitis can worsen to serious kidney infection with the yeast, or fungal balls in the bladder leading to urinary obstruction, or spread to blood. People with diabetes, pregnant women, and people using catheters and immunosuppression are at special risk for yeast infection to infect the urinary tract. In addition to yeast infection, the bladder is also prone to get bacterial infection in people who have recurrent yeast infections.
Genitourinary candidiasis is a common health problem with significant psychological, medical, and socioeconomic impact. An identification of the causative pathogen in case of bladder infection, and timely diagnosis of yeast infections can lead to better outcomes with proper and adequate treatment, and avoidance of unnecessary and excess antibiotics.
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1. Foxman B. Epidemiology of urinary tract infections: incidence, morbidity, and economic costs. Dis Mon. 2003;49:53–70
2. Jacqueline M. Achkar and Bettina C. Fries. Candida Infections of the Genitourinary Tract. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. April 2010 vol. 23 no. 2 253-273 1 April 2010