Cystitis is an uncomfortable condition caused by an inflammation or infection of the urinary bladder, according the the Mayo clinic website (mayoclinic.com). When caused by germs, or bacteria, cystitis is called a bacterial urinary tract infection, otherwise known as a UTI. UTI’s can by annoying and painful. A UTI, such as cystitis, can be a serious health issue if the infection spreads to the kidneys.
The cystitis often begins when the urinary tract is entered by bacteria through the urethra. The urethra is the tube that urine exits the body by. Once in the bladder, bacteria can adhere to the bladder wall. It is also possible, but not as common, for bacteria to spread to the bladder from an infection in another part of the body.
Honeymoon cystitis commonly occurs as a result of sexual intercourse. During sexual intercourse, bacteria may be introduced into the bladder. Even though sexual activity can cause cystitis, it is not the only cause. Women who are not sexually active can get cystitis because the female genital area often harbors the bacteria that cause cystitis.
Up to 20 percent of women will develop a bladder infection in their lifetime. One of the reasons that women are susceptible is their anatomy. The short urethra allows bacteria to travel up it to reach the bladder. Sexual activity can push the bacteria into the urethra. In addition to sexual activity itself, cystitis can be caused by birth control devices, such as diaphragms. Other risk factors for UTI’s include conditions that interfere with the flow of urine, such as enlarged prostrate or a stone in the bladder, conditions that change the immune system -such as diabetes, or prolonged use of bladder catheters.
Most cases of cystitis are caused by E coli bacteria. A new strain of antibiotic resistant E coil may make UTI’s very hard to treat. There are other causes of cystitis, although rare. Conditions that may mimic bacterial UTI’s include: yeast infection, vaginitis, radiation treatment to the bladder ares, interstital cyctitis, tuberculosis, or tumors to the bladder.
There are many signs and symptoms of bladder infections. The symptoms may include: strong and persistent urge to urinate, burning sensation when urinating, passing small by frequent amounts of urine, feeling of pressure in the lower abdomen and low grade fever. bed wetting incidents in children who don’t usually wet the bed can be a symptom of a UTI.
If you have symptoms of a bladder infection, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. the doctor may ask for a urine sample to determine whether there is bacteria, blood or pus in the urine.
UTI’s can lead to complications when left untreated. An untreated urinary tract infection can cause complications such as kidney infection or kidney damage, .
Antibiotics are the first choice of treatment for bladder infections. The type of antibiotic the doctor will prescribe depends upon the bacteria found in the urine sample. Antibiotics often prescribed include, amoxicillin, nitrofurantoin, Bactrim, and Cipro.
Women, particularly if they have recurrent UTI, can take steps to prevent infections. Prevention tips include drinking plenty of water, urinating frequently, wiping from front to back after a bowel movement, taking showers rather than tub baths, daily washing the skin around the vagina and anus gently with mild soap, empty the bladder as soon as possible after intercourse. Avoid using deodorant sprays or feminine products in the genital area.
Cystitis can be painful. Sometimes a heating pad can minimize the feelings of bladder pressure or pain. Drink plenty of fluids, but avoid coffee, soft drinks with caffeine, citrus juices and alcohol. Avoid spicy foods until the infection has cleared as they can irritate the bladder.
Talk to your doctor about symptoms of recurrent bladder infections. If antibiotics and self care don’t’ work, the doctor may refer you to a urologist for other treatment options.
The information in this article is not intended as medical advice. If you have medical condition, consult with a physician.