All posts in Bacteria In Urine

Calgary doctor answers ‘burning’ questions about bladder infections


Dr. Raj Bhardwaj says urinary tract infections happen when bacteria from our skin crawls into the bladder. (Danielle Nerman/CBC)

If it burns when you tinkle, you likely have a bladder infection.

The pain you feel is caused by irritation and inflammation, which is caused by bacteria.

Then of course, there’s that frequent urge to pee.

“Your bladder tries to tell you something is going on. But the bladder only has one button, one sort of communication route to the brain,” Dr. Raj Bhardwaj told the Calgary Eyeopener on Tuesday.

Why women?

More than 50 per cent of women will get a bladder infection in their lifetime.

Bhardwaj says it all comes down to anatomy. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) happen when bacteria from our skin crawls into the bladder.

“The distance from the outside world to the inside of the bladder is shorter in women than men, so the bacteria don’t have as far to go before they’re in a place where they can cause problems,” he says.

Dr. Raj Bhardwaj
Dr. Raj Bhardwaj is an urgent care physician and the medical contributor on CBC Radio’s the Calgary Eyeopener. (@RajBhardwajMD/Twitter)

UTIs are less common in men, but not in children.

Diapers can be a breeding ground for bacteria, so parents need to be fastidious with wiping and cleaning.

The same goes for kids who have been recently toilet trained.

Bhardwaj says being sexually active increases the risk of getting a bladder infection because it moves bacteria all over the place, and you may end up with more of it on the bladder opening.


“This is one of those times when you do throw antibiotics at it,” said Bhardwaj.

Bacteria can spread from the bladder to the kidneys, then to the blood — and make you quite sick

He says the vast majority of bladder infections are caused by E. coli.

Understanding E. coli: symptoms, spread, prevention
E. coli: Inside Alberta’s 2014 outbreak
Calgary doctor on trail of resistant E. coli
“There are other treatments you can use to numb the symptoms,” said Bhardwaj.

Pyridium (or phenazophyridine), which turns the patient’s urine bright orange, is not easily available in Canada anymore but Bhardwaj says some pharmacists compound their own.

He says the problem with this drug is that it solves the symptoms, but doesn’t treat the infection — which is why you should take it in conjunction with antibiotics.


Bhardwaj offers these tips to help reduce your chances of getting a bladder infection:

  • Drink lots of water to flush your kidneys.
  • Don’t waste your money on cranberry juice. He says it’s “a medical myth that just won’t die.”
  • Urinate regularly. Don’t hold your pee for hours and hours!

Ask a Vet: Puppy’s urination problems could be behavioral or medical

Ask a Vet: Puppy’s urination problems could be behavioral or medical

My 10-week-old puppy is having urinary problems. She has to urinate very frequently and can’t seem to hold her urine when she is sleeping.

We have to differentiate out the possible cause of urinary problems in puppies as a behavioral or training issue versus a medical issue.

It is normal for young puppies to need to urinate frequently, perhaps every two or three hours, but less often when sleeping. It is always recommended to carry a pup straight outside on waking and to take her out after meals and every few hours otherwise.

If your house training is coming along and your puppy seems to know she should go outdoors but is also leaving puddles when she is asleep, that could be a potential physical problem. An X-ray of her bladder with radiopaque dye will show her kidneys, ureters connecting the kidneys to the bladder and urethra connecting the bladder to the outside.

There is a chance her urinary system didn’t develop normally and her urine is not being held in the bladder, but is going directly from the ureter to the urethra.

Regarding your concern about frequent urination: If it is more often than once every few hours, you should have her tested for a urinary tract infection. These are not very common in puppies, but could be the cause. A simple urinalysis and culture will help diagnose this.

Your veterinarian should also try to determine what the cause might be. In female pups, the vulva may sit deeply within folds of skin (recessed vulva) and cause retention of urine. Bacteria in the area can survive and multiply and work their way into the bladder through the opening of the urethra. Cleanliness is a good preventive tool in these cases.

If the proper antibiotic is prescribed and an infection clears up but returns, another internal problem could be the cause. In utero, urine from the puppy’s bladder leaves the body through a tube called the urachus via the umbilical cord into the mother’s bloodstream. Sometimes this tube doesn’t completely disappear after birth, and a small pocket remains where urine can collect outside of the main area of the bladder. Because of this, infections may be harder to clear up.

If you feel your house training is not the issue, please have your veterinarian rule out any physical causes of her urinary problems. House training will be frustrating for her and you if she wants to do what she is supposed to, but her body won’t cooperate.

Dr. Francine Rattner is a veterinarian at South Arundel Veterinary Hospital in Edgewater. Please send questions to or to


Urine Isn’t Free of Bacteria


FRIDAY, April 3, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Though it’s commonly believed that urine is bacteria-free, normal urine is not sterile, a new study finds.

“Clinicians previously equated the presence of bacteria in urine to infections. The discovery of bacteria in the urine of healthy females provides an opportunity to advance our understanding of bladder health and disease,” study author Alan Wolfe, a professor in the department of microbiology and immunology at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, said in a university news release.

Instead of collecting urine samples from a woman’s urine stream, the researchers used catheters to collect urine directly from the bladder.

Testing this way revealed that bacteria were present in urine taken from the bladders of healthy women. The researchers also found that some of those bacteria may contribute to urinary leakage or a loss of bladder control (incontinence).

Additionally, the study found that some types of bacteria are more common in women with urinary incontinence.

“While traditional urine cultures have been the gold standard to identify urine disorders in the past, they do not detect most bacteria and have limited utility as a result. “They are not as comprehensive as the testing techniques used in this study,” Wolfe explained.

“Physicians and researchers must reassess their assumptions surrounding the cause of lower urinary tract disorders and consider new approaches to prevent and treat these debilitating health issues,” Wolfe said.

The study was published recently in the journal European Urology.

“If we can determine that select bacteria cause various lower urinary tract symptoms, we may be able to better identify those women at risk and more effectively treat them,” study co-author Dr. Linda Brubaker, dean and chief diversity officer at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, said in the news release.

More information

The U.S. Office on Women’s Health has more about urinary incontinence.

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