Bladder Infection (Cystitis)

  • Medical Author:
    Siamak N. Nabili, MD, MPH

    Dr. Nabili received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), majoring in chemistry and biochemistry. He then completed his graduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His graduate training included a specialized fellowship in public health where his research focused on environmental health and health-care delivery and management.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Quick GuideUrinary Tract Infections (Bladder Infection): UTI Symptoms, Treatment, Causes

Urinary Tract Infections (Bladder Infection): UTI Symptoms, Treatment, Causes

What are the signs and symptoms of a bladder infection in children?

Signs and symptoms of bladder and urinary infection in young children and infants may be more vague and can include:

  • Irritability
  • Fussiness
  • Poor eating
  • Vomiting
  • Failure to thrive
  • Generalized malaise
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Abdominal pain

How is a bladder infection diagnosed?

Bladder infection is generally diagnosed by a urinalysis (UA). This is a simple test which analyzes a urine sample collected from a patient suspected of having a bladder infection or any other form of urinary infection. This test along with signs and symptoms of bladder infection is used to diagnose or rule out cystitis.

The presence of white blood cells (WBC) or leukocyte esterase (released from WBCs) in urinalysis indicates an infection. Blood in urine (hematuria) can sometimes also be seen in the setting of bladder infection. Nitrates are chemicals produces by some bacteria and their presence in a urinalysis can also be indicative of an infection in the urine.

Urine culture is another helpful test for diagnosis of bladder infection. This test can determine the organism that may be causing urine infection. In general, urine culture is not done independent of a UA. It is generally recommended to perform a urine culture if urinalysis (UA) confirms the diagnosis of a urinary infection.

What is the treatment for a bladder infection?

Bladder infection can be treated and cured by appropriate use of antibiotics. The selection and duration of antibiotic treatment depends on severity of the infection, previous history of similar infection, and patient factors (age, gender, allergies, other medications, other medical problems). The treating physician generally decides what antibiotics would work best for each individual patient by thoroughly examining the patient and considering the aforementioned factors.

Self-medication for bladder infection is occasionally an option in patients with mild, recurrent infections. In reliable and compliant individuals who are familiar with the symptoms of frequent bladder infections, appropriate bladder infection antibiotics can be prescribed to them in advance by their treating physicians. The bladder infection medication may then be started by the patient on their own at the onset of their symptoms.

Bladder muscle spasm and bladder inflammation are responsible for some of the symptoms associated with bladder infection such as, bladder pain and dysuria. Pyridium (phenazopyridine) is a medication often used to treat symptoms of painful urination due to bladder infection.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/30/2015

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