What Is the Difference Between a Bladder Infection vs. UTI?

  • Medical Author:
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

  • Medical Author: Pamela I. Ellsworth, MD
  • 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.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Ask the experts

What is the difference between a bladder infection vs. UTI?

Doctor's response

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection involving the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra. These are the structures that urine passes through before being eliminated from the body.

  • The kidneys are a pair of small organs that lie on either side of the spine at about waist level. They have several important functions in the body, including removing waste and excess water from the blood and eliminating them as urine. These functions make them important in the regulation of blood pressure. Kidneys are also very sensitive to changes in blood sugar levels and blood pressure and electrolyte balance. Both diabetes and hypertension can cause damage to these organs.
  • Two ureters, narrow tubes about 10 inches long, drain urine from each kidney into the bladder.
  • The bladder is a small saclike organ that collects and stores urine. When the urine reaches a certain level in the bladder, we experience the sensation that we have to void, then the muscle lining the bladder can be voluntarily contracted to expel the urine.
  • The urethra is a small tube connecting the bladder with the outside of the body. A muscle called the urinary sphincter, located at the junction of the bladder and the urethra, must relax at the same time the bladder contracts to expel urine.

Any part of this system can become infected. As a rule, the farther up in the urinary tract the infection is located, the more serious it is.

Bladder infection is a specific type of urinary tract infection

Cystitis is inflammation of the bladder. Most cystitis is from bacterial infections involving the bladder and less commonly may be the result of yeast infections, viral infections, chemical irritants of the bladder, or for unknown reasons (interstitial cystitis). Bladder infection (infectious cystitis) is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI). This review will specifically address infectious cystitis.

The urine in the bladder is normally free of bacteria (sterile). However, bacteria may be present in the bladder but not cause inflammation or symptoms of an infection. This is called asymptomatic bacteriuria and is not cystitis.

Cystitis can be complicated or uncomplicated. Uncomplicated cystitis is a bladder infection in a healthy person with a structurally and functionally normal urinary tract. A complicated bladder infection is one that occurs in association with factors that increase the chance of developing a bacterial infection and decrease the chance of antibiotic therapy being effective. Such abnormalities include obstruction from stones, congenital blockages, urethral strictures, and prostate enlargement.

Quick GuideBladder Infections: UTI Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

Bladder Infections: UTI Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

REFERENCE:

"Recurrent urinary tract infection in women"
UpToDate.com

Reviewed on 10/11/2017

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