Bladder infection in pregnancy : a common complaint during pregnancy
Perhaps everyone has heard of classic pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, heartburn or back pain. Bladder infection, also known as cystitis, is also more common.
The pregnancy hormone progesterone is to blame for the greater susceptibility to developing cystitis. This loosens the muscles of the entire body and does not stop at the bladder and urethra.
The constantly growing uterus also puts more weight on the urinary bladder, which is why it is pushed further down. All this together means that bacteria can now more easily penetrate the urinary tract and from there ascend into the bladder. However, since not only the bladder but also the urethra itself can be inflamed, one often speaks of urinary tract infections.
The progesterone level remains elevated even during the regeneration phase – i.e. in the confinement period. Therefore, bladder infections can also occur more frequently after birth.
Incidentally, the causes of cystitis are completely independent of pregnancy: it is mainly E. coli bacteria from the large intestine, which get into the urinary tract through incorrect wiping of the anus.
Symptoms of bladder infection in pregnancy
- Frequent urination. In the case of a bladder infection, the mucous membrane of the bladder, also called the urothelium, is attacked by the bacteria that have risen. As a result, the bladder wall becomes more sensitive and reacts more quickly to the stretching stimulus of the urine. This in turn leads to an increased urge to urinate (pollascuria). At night, this makes it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. It is quite normal for women to have to go to the toilet more often during pregnancy. If you are not sure whether your visits to the toilet are still within the normal range, it certainly cannot hurt to consult your doctor.
- Burning and pain. Depending on the severity of the inflammation and how they feel, those affected may feel a burning sensation when urinating (dysuria) and/or pain over the pubic bone. In some cases, the pain can even be so severe that it is felt as a cramp with a strong urge to urinate (tenesmus). In any case, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.
- Visible blood in the urine. This symptom is fairly uncommon, but it doesn’t make it any less troubling. In fact, when there is a bladder infection, there is usually blood in the urine, but in the form of white blood cells (leukocytes). These are not always visible, but can make the urine look cloudy.
- More symptoms. In addition to the more common symptoms already mentioned, a bladder infection in pregnancy can, in rare cases, lead to increased discharge, back pain and fever. Whenever your condition worsens, don’t take any risks and go straight to the doctor!
When should you see a doctor for a bladder infection in pregnancy?
If you experience any of the above signs of cystitis, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. It is important that you avoid any risk to your child’s well-being and your own well-being.
It doesn’t matter which doctor ultimately helps you. A urine test to detect a bladder infection can be performed by both your gynecologist and your family doctor. However, it is important to point out that you are pregnant so that your doctor can prescribe the appropriate medication.
Complications of bladder infection in pregnancy
If there are other symptoms in addition to the symptoms mentioned above, it may be a so-called “complicated” bladder infection: You should see your doctor immediately.
Only in around 25 percent of all those affected do the bacteria even ascend to the kidneys and trigger inflammation there. In about ten percent, on the other hand, there are no other symptoms at all. The bacterial value is then only determined by the doctor’s urine test.
If the bacteria continue to rise from the bladder via the ureters into the renal pelvis and also spread there, inflammation of the renal pelvis (pyelonephritis) can quickly occur. Part of the kidney tissue is often inflamed.
The symptoms are similar to those of cystitis. However, fever and chills can also occur. Anyone suffering from an inflammation of the renal pelvis may feel particularly ill and also complain of nausea or vomiting.
In case of an inflammation of the renal pelvis during pregnancy, there is an acute need for action, as it can also lead to premature birth or miscarriage.
If you frequently suffer from bladder infection in pregnancy, it is possible that chronic inflammation has developed. The bladder infection can then occur at least twice every six months, if not more often.
However, thanks to regular urine screening by the doctor, such complications are extremely rare in pregnant women. To avoid any risk, your doctor will act quickly if a bladder infection develops and prescribe antibiotics.
What can you do about bladder infection in pregnancy?
Women who suffer from bladder infections from time to time like to use home remedies first and try to get the inflammation under control without medical help. However, you should absolutely refrain from such “self-experiments” during pregnancy. Medicines should also not be taken on one’s own initiative, as many medicines are now taboo. Even taking the painkiller paracetamol, which is considered harmless , is not entirely harmless during pregnancy. You should therefore consult your doctor at the first sign of a bladder infection.
Using a urine sample, he quickly determines whether you are suffering from a bladder infection or urinary tract infection. If the doctor finds bacteria or leukocytes (white blood cells) in the urine, an antibiotic is usually prescribed, even if the pregnant woman has not had any symptoms so far. This is necessary to prevent the bacteria from ascending into the renal pelvis.
In the case of a bladder infection in pregnancy, doctors usually prescribe antibiotics, which are well tolerated even under these special circumstances. These include so-called penicillins and erythromycins.
You cannot treat bladder infection in pregnancy yourself. Nevertheless, you can use one or the other home remedy to help alleviate the symptoms:
- Drink a lot and go to the toilet as soon as possible when you need to urinate! This allows you to flush out the bacteria and prevent them from ascending to the kidney area.
- Keep the bladder area warm with heat packs or bottles! Heat helps to relax the muscles and thus also relieves the pain.
- Drink cranberry, blueberry or lingonberry juice, as these contain the active ingredient proanthocyanidin, which is said to inhibit the spread of germs in the urine. Even if this effect has not been scientifically proven, the juices taste good and contribute to increased fluid intake.
- Essential oils of nasturtium or horseradish root are also said to have an antibiotic effect. So far, however, there are no meaningful studies on the actual effect of these home remedies on cystitis. You should therefore always talk to your doctor or midwife about possible risks before using it.
How can you prevent a bladder infection?
- Drink a lot With this simple remedy, you can prevent cystitis, both during pregnancy and outside of it. Drink at least two liters of water a day – preferably even more!
- Proper wiping. After a bowel movement, you should always remember to wipe from front to back. So no bacteria from the intestine and anal area can penetrate the urethra.
- Immediate urination. If you have sex while pregnant, you should go to the toilet no later than 10 minutes afterwards. In this way, any germs can be flushed out immediately.
- Neutral intimate cleansing. It is better to only use water or pH-neutral cleaners to keep your intimate area clean. The natural pH balance thus remains and does not offer pathogens a good place to thrive.
- Airy underwear. Wear comfortable cotton panties rather than tight polyester briefs. Cotton allows more oxygen to reach the intimate area, which inhibits the spread of bacteria. Also wash your underwear more often at 60 degrees. This will help kill the germs.
- Treat yourself to rest! As with all infectious diseases, rest is very important with a bladder infection. So: off to the couch! And to keep you entertained.
Bladder infections are common during pregnancy because the pregnancy hormone progesterone causes the urinary tract to dilate and bacteria can penetrate more easily. You should therefore consult a doctor at the slightest sign of inflammation in order to keep the risk for you and your child as low as possible. He will decide which medication is right for you.
Can a bladder infection hurt my unborn baby?
Bladder infection do not pose any danger to a unborn baby.
What does a bladder infection feel like when pregnant?
A burning sensation when you pass urine. feeling the urge to urinate more often than usual. urinating before you reach the toilet.
Is bladder infection ok when pregnant?
Bladder infection in pregnancy are common, With proper care, you and your baby should be fine.
How is a UTI treated during pregnancy?
Most bladder infections during pregnancy are treated with a course of antibiotics.