Bladder infection, also known as urinary tract infection (UTI), is considered cystitis which is a bacterial infection of the bladder or lower urinary tract. It can be a result of an allergic, bacterial, or chemical reaction, or even a virus among other things. Usually, though, it begins when bacteria enters the urinary tract through the urethra (the tube that urine exits through your body), adhere to the bladder wall, and begin to multiply. Typically, bladder infections are just a painful annoyance, but bacteria from an infection can spread to another part of the body like your kidneys, so it is important to tell you health care professional about your symptoms.
The two main types of bladder infection are community-acquired, those that occur in people who are not in medical care facilities, and hospital-acquired, those that occur in people who are in medical care facilities.
The most common cause of a community-acquired bladder infection is Escherichia coli (E.coli); bacteria found in the lower gastrointestinal tract, and will strike women most often for 3 main reasons:
Anatomy - with a shorter urethra than men, bacteria doesn't have to travel as far to reach the bladder.
Sexual Intercourse - bacteria can be pushed into the urethra during intercourse.
Pregnancy - hormonal changes may increase a woman's risk.
Other risk factors for both men and women are due to interference with the flow of urine with conditions such as an enlarged prostate in men or stone in the bladder and changes in the immune system with conditions such as diabetes.
Most hospital-acquired bladder infections will occur in people who have had a urinary catheter placed in them to collect bladder for a surgery or diagnostic test or those who need prolonged use of bladder catheters such as the elderly or those who are bed ridden.