Bladder Infections Caused by Alcohol Abuse

Bladder infections, which are a type of urinary tract infection, are a significant challenge for healthcare systems around the world. They cause considerable illness and require substantial healthcare resources. Caused by bacterial pathogens, mainly Escherichia coli, which travel from the urethra to the bladder, leading to infection and an inflammatory response, these conditions can be a consequence of alcohol addiction.

Various factors, including host characteristics, anatomical irregularities, and personal hygiene, are acknowledged as potential contributors to bladder infections. Additionally, recent research suggests that alcohol misuse may also impact the onset and advancement of these infections. Excessive and prolonged consumption of alcoholic beverages, known as alcohol abuse, has been linked to physiological and immunological changes that may affect the likelihood and severity of bladder infections. The exact mechanisms through which alcohol abuse affects the risk and outcomes of bladder infections are not fully comprehended despite the clinical significance of this relationship.

In this article, we will analyse the link between bladder infection and alcoholism, as well as Providence Project’s role in helping you heal from these effects.

Defining the Human Bladder

The human bladder is an organ in the lower abdomen that stores urine produced by the kidneys until it’s ready to be expelled from the body. It’s a muscular, elastic sac lined with a mucous membrane and divided into two parts: the fundus (the upper part) and the neck (the lower part). The bladder can expand to hold up to four cups of urine—and when it does, you experience a need to urinate. When your bladder is full, nerves fire off signals that tell your brain it’s time to eliminate the excess liquid.

Effects & Symptoms of Use

Types of Bladder Infections

Related or not to alcohol consumption, bladder infections are some of the most common among drinkers. Here are the ones we have encountered the most during our practice:

  • Uncomplicated Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): These are the most common types of bladder infections. They occur when bacteria, typically Escherichia coli (E. coli) originating from the gastrointestinal tract, enter the urethra and ascend to the bladder. Uncomplicated UTIs primarily affect healthy individuals without structural abnormalities or underlying conditions that increase their susceptibility to infections.
  • Recurrent UTIs: Some individuals experience recurrent bladder infections, which are characterised by multiple episodes of UTIs within a specified time frame, typically defined as two or more infections within six months or three or more infections within one year. Recurrent UTIs can be caused by various factors, including incomplete treatment of previous infections, anatomical abnormalities, urinary tract obstructions, hormonal changes, or weakened immune system.
  • Complicated UTIs: Complicated UTIs occur in individuals with underlying health conditions or structural abnormalities that increase their susceptibility to infections. These conditions may include kidney stones, urinary tract obstructions, urinary catheter use, diabetes, pregnancy, weakened immune system, or neurological disorders affecting bladder function. Complicated UTIs are typically more challenging to treat and may require a more aggressive approach.
  • Interstitial Cystitis (IC) or Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS): Interstitial cystitis, also known as painful bladder syndrome, is a chronic condition characterised by recurring pain and discomfort in the bladder and pelvic region. It is not caused by bacterial infection but rather by inflammation or irritation of the bladder lining. The exact cause of IC/PBS is unknown, and its diagnosis and management often require specialised care.
  • Radiation Cystitis: Radiation therapy for pelvic cancer, such as prostate, bladder, or cervical cancer, can cause radiation cystitis. It occurs as a result of damage to the bladder tissues due to radiation exposure. Radiation cystitis can lead to chronic inflammation, blood in the urine (hematuria), and recurrent urinary symptoms.
  • Drug-Induced Cystitis: Certain medications, such as cyclophosphamide and certain chemotherapy drugs, can cause drug-induced cystitis. These medications can irritate the bladder lining, leading to symptoms similar to a urinary tract infection.

The Providence Projects have a team of medical professionals at your disposal. Whenever you check into our inpatient rehab facility, you will get a screening and an assessment. It is our pleasure to confide that we have helped many patients to rediscover the joys of life by following a new sober lifestyle.

Alcoholism & Bladder Infections

Though alcohol itself is not considered a direct cause of bladder infections, it does increase your risk. Alcohol can damage the lining of your bladder and make it more susceptible to infection. Other direct impacts of alcohol on the bladder include increased production of urine, decreased ability to control urination, and increased inflammation in the urinary tract—all of which can contribute to bladder infections.

Additionally, excessive alcohol use reduces immune system function, making your body less able to fight off infection. This can make you more vulnerable to developing bladder infections, both because of the damage to your bladder and because of the increased risk of infection due to a weakened immune system.

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How We Can Help

If you’re concerned about alcohol’s impact on your health, it’s important to talk with a healthcare professional. Being CQC-regulated and working with medical personnel on-site, we can help assess your risk for bladder infections and recommend lifestyle modifications or treatment options for alcohol addiction that may reduce your risk. As part your treatment with us, we provide a medically-managed detox plan.

While alcohol can contribute to bladder infections, there are steps you can take to lessen your chances of developing one such as:

  • Drink plenty of fluids: Staying hydrated helps flush out bacteria and other germs from the bladder. Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day is recommended for optimal hydration. Avoiding drinks with caffeine or alcohol can also help since they act as diuretics and increase urine production.
  • Urinate regularly: It’s important to empty your bladder when it’s full to reduce your risk of infection. Waiting too long can increase your chances of developing a bladder infection.
  • Wipe front to back: When wiping after using the bathroom, make sure to wipe from front to back instead of back to front. This helps prevent bacteria in the anus from entering the urethra and causing an infection.
  • Wear loose clothing: Tight clothes can trap moisture and increase your chances of developing a bladder infection. Loose-fitting clothes allow air circulation and help keep the area dry.

Don’t hesitate to call us and ask about our custom treatment programme, sober services and dual diagnosis treatment. We are here for you, and our admissions team is ready to take your call right away!