What is a bacterial infection?

Bacteria are very small, single-celled organisms, most of which are not harmful to the human body. Infectious bacteria types can sometimes invade the body and cause a variety of medical conditions, which may need treatment with prescription medications, such as antibiotics. Some of the more common conditions caused by a bacterial infection include bacterial vaginosis, kidney infections, and gastroenteritis.

Bacterial vaginosis is a common type of bacterial infection that affects women. Several types of bacteria live naturally in the vaginal area and do not normally cause problems. If any of these strains of bacteria begin to overgrow, a bacterial infection can occur. Women experiencing symptoms of this condition may notice a foul-smelling vaginal discharge, although it is common for a woman to not experience any symptoms.

Pyelonephritis is a type of bacterial infection that affects the kidneys. Symptoms of this type of bacterial infection often include pain, fever, or blood in the urine. This condition must be treated immediately, as untreated kidney infections can lead to permanent kidney damage. If the kidneys become too damaged to function properly, dialysis or transplantation may become the only viable options to keep the patient alive.

Sinusitis is a type of bacterial infection that involves inflammation and irritation of the delicate tissues of the sinus cavity. Symptoms of sinusitis can include fever, cough, and headache. As is the case with most bacterial infections, antibiotics are usually needed to effectively treat sinusitis. Warm, moist compresses can be placed on the sinus area of ​​the face to help relieve painful symptoms while the body heals from the infection.

Gastroenteritis is a medical condition that is sometimes caused by a bacterial infection and is characterized by inflammation of the digestive tract, including the stomach and intestines. Symptoms of gastroenteritis may include abdominal pain or cramps, fever, or diarrhea.

Chlamydia is a type of sexually transmitted disease that is commonly caused by a bacterial infection. Many people who have this type of infection never experience any symptoms, which means that the disease can easily be spread to other people unintentionally. Those who do experience symptoms of this condition may notice abdominal pain, nausea, or fever. Women with chlamydia may also start bleeding or spotting between periods. Patients diagnosed with this condition should notify all sexual partners so that anyone who may have been exposed can receive appropriate testing.

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