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What causes recurring bladder infections, and how is the condition treated?

If you have pain when passing urine or have to empty your bladder frequently, then you may have a bladder infection. Most bladder infections are uncomplicated, and can usually be treated with a single course of antibiotics. However, there are times when bladder infections become chronic. So what causes these recurring bladder infections? This article looks at answers to that question.

What is a bladder infection ?
A bladder infection is also known as cystitis, and is the inflammation of the bladder. The condition is generally accompanied by burning on urination along the entire urethra, frequency and urgency. Bladder infections are usually caused by the presence of bacteria in the urine. The bacteria can gain access to the bladder by way of the urethra from the vagina or the anus. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. The infection irritates the lining of the bladder and the urethra, and that is what gives you the burning and the urge to urinate often.

What causes recurring bladder infections?
Dr. R. Stuart Fowler of the Fowler Gyn International, FGI, has identified a mix of external and internal factors, (read more) which give rise to conditions that mimic bladder infections or contribute to recurring bladder infections.

•    External Factors: These are related to contact irritants from a variety of sources. This is known as contact dermatitis. Potential irritants include body soaps, detergents, lotions, body washes, female hygiene products, and toilet paper. These can irritate the vestibule where the urethra opens in the entrance to the vagina.

•    Internal factors: These are related to the vaginal micro-flora. The eco-system of the vagina is comprised of a delicate balance of bacteria, which is normally dominated by the good bacteria known as the lactobacillus. However if anything occurs to alter the normal balance, then the bad bacteria can proliferate and dominate the micro-flora, increasing the likelihood of infections to occur.

If these factors are not precisely identified and diagnosed, then bladder infections will often reoccur. Treatment includes the use of hypo-allergenic skin care products, as well as vaginal rejuvenate therapy to restore the vaginal micro-flora (click here to read more related articles).

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