Cystitis is a disease caused by bacteria and similar microbes. These germs enter the urethra and then the bladder, causing an infection. The infection usually develops in the bladder but can also spread to the kidneys. You can find more information below.

What is cystitis?

Cystitis is the medical term for inflammation of the bladder. Most of the time, the inflammation is caused by a bacterial infection, called a urinary tract infection (UTI). A bladder infection can be painful and annoying and can become a serious health problem if the infection spreads to your kidneys.

Less commonly, cystitis can occur as a reaction to certain medications, radiation therapy, or potential irritants such as feminine hygiene spray, spermicidal gels, or long-term use of a catheter. Cystitis can also occur as a complication of another disease.

The usual treatment for bacterial cystitis is antibiotics. Treatment of other types of cystitis depends on the underlying cause.

What is honeymoon cystitis?

Honeymoon cystitis is a form of cystitis that occurs after sexual intercourse. It occurs when a woman has intercourse for the first time, or in her first intercourse after a long time. The symptoms are the same as for other cystitis, which are discussed in detail below. Symptoms include a burning sensation when urinating and a frequent urge to go to the bathroom.

Cystitis causes and triggers

The causes of cystitis vary depending on whether the disease is bacterial or not.

bacterial cystitis

This type typically occurs when bacteria outside the body enter the urinary tract from the urethra and begin to multiply. Most cases of cystitis are caused by a type of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacterium.

Bacterial bladder infections can occur in women as a result of sexual intercourse . But even sexually inactive girls and women are susceptible to lower urinary tract infections. Because the female genital area often contains bacteria that can cause cystitis.

non-bacterial cystitis

Although bacterial infections are the most common cause of cystitis, a number of non-infectious factors can also cause inflammation of the bladder. Some examples are:

  • Interstitial cystitis: Also called painful bladder syndrome, the cause of this chronic bladder inflammation is unclear. Most cases are diagnosed in women . The condition can be difficult to diagnose and treat.
  • Drug-induced cystitis: Some medications, especially chemotherapy drugs , can cause your bladder to become inflamed as they remove the broken down components from your body.
  • Radiation cystitis: Radiation therapy of the pelvic area can cause inflammatory changes in the bladder tissue.
  • Foreign body cystitis: Prolonged use of a catheter can predispose you to bacterial infections and tissue damage, both of which can cause inflammation.
  • Chemical cystitis: Some people may be hypersensitive to chemicals found in certain products, such as bubble baths, feminine hygiene sprays, or spermicidal gels, and develop an allergic-type reaction that causes inflammation in the bladder.
  • Cystitis associated with other conditions: Cystitis can sometimes occur as a complication of other disorders such as diabetes , kidney stones, an enlarged prostate, or spinal cord injuries.
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Who is at risk?

Some people are more likely to develop bladder infections or recurrent urinary tract infections. In cystitis, women are from a group. The main reason for this is physical anatomy. Women have a shorter urethra, which shortens the distance bacteria must travel to reach the bladder.

Women at highest risk of urinary tract infections include:

  • Those who are sexually active: Sexual intercourse can cause bacteria to be pushed into the urethra.
  • Pregnant: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase the risk of bladder infections.
  • Menopause: Changing hormone levels in postmenopausal women are often associated with UTIs.

Other risk factors in both men and women include:

  • Interference with urine flow: This can occur with conditions such as a stone in the bladder or an enlarged prostate in men .
  • Changes in the immune system: This can happen in certain conditions, such as diabetes, HIV infection, and cancer treatment. A weakened immune system increases the risk of bacterial and, in some cases, viral bladder infections.
  • Long-term use of bladder catheters: These tubes may be needed in people with chronic illness or in older adults. Long-term use may result in greater vulnerability to bacterial infections as well as bladder tissue damage.

What are the symptoms of cystitis?

The signs and symptoms of cystitis often include:

  • A strong, constant urge to urinate
  • burning sensation while urinating
  • Urinating frequently but in small amounts
  • blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Cloudy or strong-smelling urination
  • pelvic discomfort
  • Feeling of pressure in the lower abdomen
  • low fever

In young children, unusual incontinence can also be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI). However, incontinence alone is not usually associated with a UTI.

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When should you see a doctor?

See a doctor if you have common signs and symptoms of a kidney infection, including:

  • Back or flanks pain
  • fever and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting

See a doctor if you have urgent, frequent, or painful urination for several hours or longer, or if you notice blood in your urine. It is also worth seeing a doctor if you have been diagnosed with a UTI in the past and develop symptoms that mimic a previous UTI.

You should also see your doctor if symptoms of cystitis come back after you finish a course of antibiotics. You may need a different type of cystitis medication , prescription or nonprescription .

How is cystitis diagnosed?

If you have symptoms of cystitis, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. In addition to discussing your symptoms and medical history, your doctor may recommend some tests, such as:

  • Urinalysis: For a suspected bladder infection, your doctor may request a urine sample to determine if your urine contains bacteria, blood, or pus.
  • Cystoscopy: During this test, your doctor inserts a cystoscope (a thin tube with a light and camera attached) through your urethra to view your urethra and signs of illness. Using the cystoscope, your doctor may remove a small sample of tissue ( biopsy ) for laboratory analysis. However, this test is probably not needed if you are experiencing symptoms of cystitis for the first time.
  • Imaging: Imaging testing is not usually necessary, but in some cases – especially when there is no evidence of infection – imaging can be helpful. For example, an X-ray or ultrasound can help your doctor discover other potential causes of bladder inflammation, such as a tumor or structural abnormality.

How is cystitis treated?

Cystitis caused by a bacterial infection is usually treated with antibiotics. Treatment of non-bacterial cystitis depends on the underlying cause.

Treatment of bacterial cystitis

Antibiotics are the first line of treatment for cystitis caused by bacteria. Which medications to use depends on your general health and the bacteria in your urine and how long it has been present.

  • Initial infection: Symptoms usually improve significantly within a few days of antibiotic treatment. However, you will likely need to take antibiotics for three days to a week, depending on the severity of your infection. Regardless of the duration of treatment, you should use all antibiotics prescribed by your doctor to make sure the infection is completely gone.
  • Recurrent infection: If you have recurrent UTIs, your doctor may recommend a longer course of antibiotics or refer you to a doctor who specializes in urinary tract disorders (urologist or nephrologist) to see if urological abnormalities are causing the infections. For some women, taking a single dose of antibiotics after sex may help.
  • Hospital-acquired infection: Hospital-acquired bladder infections can be difficult to treat because bacteria found in hospitals are often resistant to the common types of antibiotics used to treat community-acquired bladder infections. Therefore, different types of antibiotics and different treatment approaches may be required.
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Remember, your doctor will decide which medicine to take.

Interstitial cystitis treatment

With interstitial cystitis, the cause of the inflammation is unclear, so there is no single treatment that is best for every case. Treatments used to relieve the signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis include:

  • Medicines taken orally or placed directly in your bladder
  • Procedures that manipulate your bladder to improve symptoms, such as stretching the bladder with water or gas (bladder distention) and surgery
  • Nerve stimulation that uses mild electrical pulses to relieve pelvic pain and in some cases reduce urinary frequency

Treatment of other non-infectious forms of cystitis

If you are hypersensitive to certain chemicals in products such as bubble baths or spermicides, avoiding these products can help relieve symptoms and prevent further episodes of cystitis.

Treatment for cystitis that develops as a complication of chemotherapy or radiation therapy usually focuses on pain management with medications and hydration to clear bladder irritants.

Can cystitis be prevented?

If you are frequently exposed to cystitis, there are some things you can try. However, it is not clear how effective many of these measures are. These measures include:

  • Do not use perfumed bubble bath, soap, or powder around your genitals.
  • Do not apply chemicals around the genitals in the bathroom.
  • Do not delay your toilet and always empty your bladder completely.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids can help prevent bacterial growth in your bladder.
  • Always clean yourself from front to back after using the toilet.
  • Empty your bladder as soon as possible after having sex.
  • Wear underwear made of cotton instead of synthetic materials such as nylon, and don’t wear tight pants.

Drinking cranberry juice has traditionally been suggested as a way to reduce your chances of getting cystitis. However, large studies have suggested that it does not make a significant difference.

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