Bladder infection vs. UTI: What’s the difference?

Jeannette | Posted on January 18, 2023 
bladder vs uti

UTI versus Bladder Infection: Is there a difference?

Urinary tract infection (UTI) and bladder infection are used interchangeably. An infection of the urinary system can induce a bladder infection. In contrast, a bladder infection is a type of UTI directly affecting the bladder. Considering the bladder vs. UTI, it is important to note that UTIs can occur anywhere along the urinary system, including the bladder. UTIs include both bladder infections and urinary tract infections. On the contrary, not all urinary tract infections are bladder infections.

The article presents comprehensive information discussing the bladder vs. UTI. Continue reading to find out the difference between UTI and bladder infection.

Bladder vs. UTI

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) include bladder infections, but bladder infections are distinct from UTIs in general. A UTI affects one or more parts of the urinary tract. The parts include the kidneys, ureters, urethra, and bladder. An infection that affects only the bladder is known as a bladder infection. Bladder infections are the most prevalent type of UTI. They are caused by bacteria that enter and spread throughout the urinary tract.

It is essential to know the parts involved in the urinary system to comprehend bladder vs. UTI. When an individual has a UTI, bacteria enter the body via the urethra. Infection’s spread into the bladder results in bladder infection. Most bladder infections are short-lived and resolve rapidly, but some can be long-term. Many of the symptoms of a bladder infection and a UTI are identical. Patients with a bladder infection may also experience abdominal or lower back cramping or pressure.

Difference Between UTI And Bladder Infection

The below sections present causes and symptoms to assess the difference between UTI and bladder infection. Continue reading to explore.

Bladder vs. UTI: Causes of Infections

A common link between the bladder vs. UTI is bacteria. Bacteria cause the majority of the urinary tract and bladder infections. Escherichia coli, usually known as E. coli, is frequently the causative agent of these infections. This type of bacteria is typically found in the digestive tract. If bacteria migrate from the anus to the urethra, a person may get a UTI. Women are more prone to UTIs as a woman’s urethra is significantly shorter than a man’s, so bacteria can easily move. In addition, the urethral opening is close to the anus. Due to these factors, a woman is 30 times more likely than a man to acquire a UTI. People with compromised immune systems are susceptible to bacterial and fungal bladder infections (yeast).

The human body has numerous defense mechanisms against bacterial infections. When you urinate, bacteria are washed out of your body. Alternatively, bacteria can enter the body through the urethra and go to the bladder, causing the infection. At this moment, the bacteria adhere to the bladder’s walls and grow rapidly. The individual will develop a bladder infection if the body cannot eliminate the bacteria.

There are both short-term and long-term cases of bladder infection. It is crucial to initiate treatment as soon as possible to prevent the infection from spreading deeper into the urinary system, particularly to the kidneys. Kidney infection can be quite uncomfortable and leads to additional health issues.

UTI Specialist

Bladder vs. UTI: Symptoms

When you have a UTI, bacteria can accumulate in the urinary tract, which irritates the lining of the urinary tract. Infections of the bladder frequently result in symptoms that typically include the following:

  • Dysuria (burning sensation while urinating)
  • Urge to pee frequently with very little urine being excreted
  • Pain in the pelvic region or pubic bone

Bladder vs. UTI symptoms’ severity will depend on the severity of the bladder infection. Urination changes include the urge to urinate more frequently, an impulse to urinate or rush to the bathroom, pain or burning when urinating, bloody or cloudy urine, foul-smelling urine, and pressure or cramping in the lower back or abdomen. If you experience these symptoms, it may indicate that your kidneys are not functioning properly.

Back pain indicates pyelonephritis, an infection that spreads from the bladder to the kidneys. This back pain is not the same as muscle-related back pain. It has nothing to do with your actions or location. Additionally, a kidney infection can produce fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and an overall sensation of illness.

If you suspect a bladder infection, you should contact a doctor immediately or if your symptoms do not improve within two days. It is crucial to begin therapy immediately to prevent the infection spread to the kidneys. A physician must treat kidney infections immediately because they might cause major complications.

Bladder vs. UTI: Diagnosis and Treatment

The diagnosis is based on taking a medical history and conducting a physical examination to determine whether or not a person has an infection. A urine sample is also checked to confirm the diagnosis. The individual may have an infection if the sample has more white blood cells than a specific threshold. Sediments present in the sample help to determine UTI versus bladder infection.

Additional tests involving growing bacterial culture on the sample are conducted to determine the most effective antibiotics.

Bacteria cause UTIs. Hence the most effective treatment is antibiotics. Due to the importance of treating a UTI with the correct antibiotics at the correct dose, a person should not self-medicate or utilize an expired prescription.

The initial treatment plan for a UTI may fail. The physician may alter the dosage, switch the medication, or recommend intravenous antibiotics if this occurs. If symptoms worsen while taking antibiotics or do not improve significantly within a few days, they should consult their primary care physician.

Some people suffer from recurrent UTIs. In certain instances, a physician may elect to perform additional diagnostic procedures, such as an ultrasound scan or a cystoscopy, to determine the cause or identify any underlying condition.

See Also: Why You Have UTI Symptoms After Taking Antibiotics


Contact your primary care physician immediately if you suspect a urinary tract or bladder infection. The therapy process should be quick and painless, but the longer you delay, the more likely things will become difficult and painful.

UTIs and bladder infections that are not treated can cause kidney infections. Symptoms of a renal infection are similar to those of a bladder infection but worse. Kidney infection symptoms include severe abdominal pain, back pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills. You can avoid this by treating your UTI so that it does not worsen and by consulting a doctor.

Bladder vs. UTI can be quickly diagnosed and treated by the experienced medical staff at Family Medicine Austin, who has the extensive expertise necessary to provide the best care. Dial the number ((512) 872-6868) immediately to schedule an appointment for urinary tract infection testing.

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