Bladder infection, also known as cystitis, is a common ailment that affects both men and women. While bladder infections are not life-threatening, failure to treat one in a timely fashion can lead to more serious complications. There are two paths of treatment currently available for bladder infections: standard medical treatment and herbal, or naturopathic, treatment. Regardless of which path is chosen, it's wise to consult a physician if a person is concerned that they may have a bladder infection.
Identification. Standard medical treatment for a bladder infection involves a few steps, beginning with identification. Your doctor will confirm the presence of a bladder infection, usually through urine analysis or urine culture. The urine analysis can confirm the presence of bacteria in the urine; the urine culture and sensitivity test will specifically identify the bacteria involved and point toward the antibiotic to which it's most sensitive.
Medical treatment. Once the bacterial pathogen is identified, antibiotics can be prescribed. Frequently, your physician will prescribe a broad-spectrum antibiotic prior to getting identification test results back. Once the appropriate antibiotic is prescribed, it's important that you follow the prescription exactly. The National Institutes of Health explains, "It is important to take the full course of treatment because symptoms may disappear before the infection is fully cleared." Failure to do so may result in a recurrence of the infection or, worse yet, may involve the infection spreading to other parts of the urinary tract, including the kidneys. Your doctor may also recommend or prescribe a palliative supplement containing the chemical phenazopyridine in order to relieve the discomfort of urinating with a bladder infection.
Home remedies. Non-medical remedies for bladder infections have considerable anecdotal evidence, but few — if any — have been proven in organized studies. The ingestion of cranberries and blueberries has been shown to minimize the potential for bladder infections, and even ameliorate signs and symptoms in mild to moderate cases. Increased intake of non-irritating fluids is always advisable, regardless of treatment path. Vitamin C may decrease bacterial growth by increasing urine acidity. Eating pineapple may help as it contains the proteolytic enzyme bromelain, which works as an anti-inflammatory. Regardless of which type of treatment you prefer, consulting with your doctor is always the safest and most advisable path to follow.