Bladder Infection Symptoms

A bladder infection, also known as Cystitis, is an infection of the bladder. It is a common condition, typically caused by bacteria entering the urethra and then the bladder. The bacteria leads to inflammation and infection in the lower urinary tract.

Most cases are caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli), a bacteria found in the intestines. When you urinate, you help remove bacteria from the bladder, but sometimes the bacteria grow so fast that some remains in the bladder. Even though bladder infections are more commonly seen in women, men can also get them.

Signs and Symptoms

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of a bladder infection, or if you have already been diagnosed and symptoms get worse. The symptoms of a bladder infection include:

• Cloudy urine

• Foul or strong urine odor

• Pressure in the lower pelvis

• Frequent or urgent need to urinate

• Low fever (not everyone will have a fever)

• Need to urinate at night 

• Pain or burning with urination

• Painful sexual intercourse

If an infection spreads to the kidneys, the symptoms may then include:

• Chills and shaking

• Fatigue

• Fever above 102 degrees Fahrenheit, which lasts for more than 2 days

• Flank (side) pain

• Flushed, warm, or reddened skin

• Mental changes or confusion (in the elderly, these symptoms often are the only signs of an UTI)

• Nausea and vomiting

• General ill feeling

• Severe abdominal pain (less frequently)

Cystitis is rare in men. Women are more likely to have cystitis.

It is much easier for the bacteria to travel into a woman’s bladder, because it does not have to travel as far. Signs and symptoms of bladder infection in men include:

    • • Frequent urination
    • • Strong, persistent urge to urinate (urgency)
    • • Burning sensation when urinating (dysuria)
    • • Low-grade fever
    • • Cloudy urine with a strong odor
      • • Blood in urine (hematuria)
      • Causes of bladder infection in men include:


        • • Enlarged prostate (

benign prostatic hyperplasia

      • , or BPH)
      • • Kidney stones
    • • Abnormal narrowing of the urethra (urethral stricture), which may result from urethral catheterization, surgery, disease or infection

Treatment of a bladder infection depends on the cause, but usually includes antibiotics. Commonly used antibiotics include: Amoxicillin, Cephalosporin, Ciprofloxacin or levofloxacin, Doxycycline, Nitrofurantoin, and Sulfa drugs (sulfonamides) such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim).