Bladder infections are known as cystitis or inflammation of the bladder. They are common in women but very rare in men. About 20% of all women get at least one bladder infection at some time in their lives. However, a man's chance of getting cystitis increases as he ages due to in part to an increase in prostate size. Doctors aren't sure exactly why women have many more bladder infections than men. They suspect it may be because women have a shorter urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the bladder. Bladder infections are not serious if treated right away. But they tend to come back in some people. This can lead to kidney infections, which are more serious and may result in permanent kidney damage.
- A burning sensation when urinating. This is the most common sign of a bladder infection.
- Frequent urge to urinate.
- Urine with a strong, foul odor.
- Bladder spasm.
- In the elderly: lethargy, incontinence and/or mental confusion.
- In severe cases, these symptoms may be accompanied by fever and chills, abdominal pain or blood in the urine.