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What is a bladder infection?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

The bladder is an organ within the urinary system. It holds urine before it is released out of the body through the urethra. The urinary system is designed to prevent bacteria from entering the urethra, but sometimes, for various reasons, bacteria enter through the urethra. Bacteria may multiply, travel up through the urethra, and settle in the bladder. If the infection remains localized in the bladder it is called cystitis. If not treated quickly, the bacteria may spread to the ureters and kidney, leading to other complications.

Joan Haizlip, MSN
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

A bladder infection or urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection caused by bacteria.  If bacteria get into the bladder, they can multiply in the urine and cause an infection.  Another name for UTI is cystitis.  Cystitis means inflammation of the bladder.   A bladder infection must be treated or it can spread to your kidneys (pyelonephritis).  

Bladder infections, also called urinary tract infections (UTIs), are fairly common. They happen when germs called bacteria get in your bladder or another part of the urinary system. Women get UTIs more often than men do.

If you think you have a UTI, call the doctor or clinic. Without treatment, this infection can become serious. Also learn how to prevent UTIs and what you can do on your own to feel better.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.