On this page we are going to look at one of the most common conditions affecting bladder health; urinary tract infections (UTI), which can also affect the kidney, ureters and urethra.
The main type of UTI which affects the bladder is called cystitis, which we will cover here, along with some of the common symptoms linked to UTIs, such as incontinence.
UTIs can affect any part of the urinary system, but most infections will involve the bladder or urethra in the lower urinary tract. It is understood that women are more likely to develop a UTI than men.
Among the most common cystitis symptoms for adults are; needing to urinate frequently and more urgently than usual, and sometimes losing control of urinating due to a sudden urge (incontinence); burning, stinging, or general pain when you pee; urine that is strong smelling; urine that is a dark colour; needing to go to the toilet again soon after urinating; feeling unwell and run down; a pain low down in the tummy, and blood being present in the urine.
Cystitis is a bacterial UTI, but it can also develop after the bladder has been damaged or irritated somehow. In the case of bacterial cystitis, infections are understood to happen after bacteria from the bowel get into the bladder via the urethra and begin multiplying.
There are things which you can do that could make getting cystitis more likely and Mr Kaba can discuss this with you.
There are a number of methods which can be used for the diagnosis of UTIs such as cystitis. Urine sample analysis - in order to look for white and red blood cells or bacteria - is typically ordered. Growing urinary tract bacteria in the laboratory can tell a doctor which bacteria are causing the infection. In the case of recurrent UTIs, a cystoscopy may be performed using a cystoscope (a long thin tube with a lens) to see inside the bladder and urethra. Imaging scans - such as an MRI scan, CT scan or ultrasound - can also be used to highlight structures in the urinary tract.
Sometimes cystitis can go away on its own accord, and painkillers or increasing your fluid intake could be effective in relieving symptoms. In other cases, a course of antibiotics - such as sulfamethoxazole, nitrofurantoin, fosfomycin, cephalexin and ceftriaxone - can be prescribed. For cases of recurring cases Mr Kaba will provide a tailored management plan for you.
There are a number of types of incontinence, including;
- stress incontinence – when urine leaks during moments of pressure on the bladder, such as when coughing or laughing. Usually caused by the weakening of the pelvic floor or urethral sphincter muscles.
- urge incontinence – when you have a sudden urge to urinate. Usually caused by overactivity of the muscles which control the bladder.
- overflow incontinence (chronic urinary retention) – when your bladder doesn’t empty completely when you urinate. Often a result of a blockage in the bladder.
- total incontinence – the total loss of urinary control which is usually caused by either a spinal injury or a bladder problem from birth.
Incontinence is a common issue and you are more likely to be affected by it of you are pregnant, obese or have a family history of incontinence.
Initial treatment recommendations will be basic lifestyle changes, pelvic floor exercises or bladder training. If these prove to be ineffective then you may be recommended medicine or, in more serious cases, Mr Kaba may recommend surgery.
Bladder cancer is where a tumour has developed in the bladder lining.
Symptoms of bladder cancer include:
- blood in the urine (this is by far the most common symptom)
- a feeling of needing to urinate urgently
- burning feeling when urinating
- pelvic pain
- weight loss
- leg swelling
Causes of bladder cancer include:
- exposure to chemicals such as aniline dyes, 2-Naphthylamine, 4-Aminobiphenyl, xenylamine, benzidine and o-toluidine
- previous chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment
If your doctor thinks you may have bladder cancer, you will usually be offered a cystoscopy, a procedure which allows a specialist to examine inside your bladder by passing a small camera through your urethra.
If the specialist believes that a more detailed picture of your bladder is needed, they might recommend a CT or MRI scan.
If any abnormalities are found, you will likely be offered TURBT, an operation used to remove abnormal tissue which is then tested for cancer.
Following the operation you may also be offered chemotherapy to help prevent any cancer returning.
State-of-the-art treatments and investigations
Mr Kaba performs a wide range of cutting-edge, advanced urology treatments. He is skilled in minimally invasive procedures, offering more options to patients in their treatment of urologic disease.