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What’s a Bladder Infection?

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Urinary tract infections (UTIs), also called bladder infections, are a common problem for a lot of girls. Anyone can get these infections, but girls and women get them more often.

What are the symptoms?

Here are some symptoms you may experience if you have a bladder infection:

  • A sharp burning pain during urination.
  • Frequent urination or the urge to urinate a lot.
  • Cloudy, dark or bloody urine.
  • Pain in the back or lower stomach.
  • Nausea/vomiting.
  • Fever.

How do you get it?

You get a bladder infection when harmful bacteria get in your urethra (where your wee leaves your bladder). You can get an infection in many ways, but there are two common culprits: the rectum and the vagina. If a girl wipes the wrong way after going to the toilet (the right way is from front to back), bacteria can move toward the urethra from the rectum and cause a UTI. Bacteria from the vagina can also be pushed into the urethra.

How do you treat bladder infections?

A doctor can find out if you have a UTI by doing a urine test. Most bladder infections can be cured in a few days by antibiotic treatment, and a doctor can also prescribe medications for painful symptoms.

When a bladder infection has just started, and if it isn't too bad, many teens/women treat it themselves by drinking a few glasses of cranberry juice and lots of water every day for a few days. This can "flush" the infection out of the bladder.

How can I avoid a UTI?

You can help to prevent UTIs by trying the following:

  • Drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day.
  • Don't drink a lot of caffeine (coffee or colas).
  • Don't wait to go to the bathroom — pee when you get the urge.
  • Take showers instead of baths.
  • Wipe from front to back whenever you go to the toilet.