Cystitis is a bacterial infection of the urethra and bladder, which are normally sterile (i.e. free of germs).

The bacteria attach themselves to the lining of the bladder, which causes the area to become inflamed.

It affects people of both sexes and all ages. It is more common in women than in men.

Escherichia coli is the cause of about 80% of all urinary tract infections.

These bacteria are part of the healthy intestinal flora. However, virulent types can enter the bladder through the urethra and cause urinary tract infections (UTIs).

A large proportion of hospitalized infections are caused by urinary tract infections, especially in patients using urinary catheters.

Causes of cystitis

There are many possible causes of cystitis, but most cases have an infectious cause. Most infectious cases are caused by bacterial infection from the ascending genital/urinary areas.

Some risk factors

  • Insertion of a tampon, there is a slight risk of bacteria forming through the urethra.
  • Use of a diaphragm for contraception.
  • Incompletely emptied bladder.
  • Insufficient mucus in postmenopausal women, favoring the multiplication of bacteria.
  • Postmenopausal women on hormone replacement therapy.
  • Lower estrogen levels.

Diagnosis of cystitis

A doctor will ask the patient a few questions, perform an exam, and perform a urine test.

A urine sample may be taken to determine the type of bacteria in the urine. After finding out which bacteria is causing the infection, the patient will be given an oral antibiotic.

Most doctors will also suggest whether the patient may have a sexually transmitted infection, the symptoms of which are similar to cystitis.

Patients who have cystitis regularly may require further testing. This could include an ultrasound, X-ray, or cystoscopy (a fiber optic camera examination) of the bladder.

Cystitis treatments

Cranberry juice is commonly consumed to prevent bladder infections. Cranberries contain an active ingredient that helps prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall. However, cranberry juice or capsules derived from cranberries may not contain enough of this active ingredient to be beneficial in preventing symptoms. Nevertheless, cranberry juice is a common method used by people to prevent UTIs. In the vast majority of cases, mild cystitis will resolve within a few days.

Any cystitis that lasts more than 4 days must be the subject of a medical consultation.

Occasionally a 3-10 day antibiotic prescription is needed. Most patients will feel the beneficial effects of an antibiotic within the first day of treatment. If the symptoms do not improve after taking the antibiotics, the patient should return to the doctor.

Older people and those with weakened immune systems, such as people with diabetes, have a higher risk of spreading infection to the kidney, as well as other complications. Vulnerable people should be treated quickly.

Drinking plenty of fluids helps flush bacteria through the system. Avoid alcohol.

Symptoms of cystitis

  • Traces of blood in the urine.
  • Dark or cloudy urine.
  • Strong smell of urine.
  • Pain just above the pubic bone.
  • Lower back pain.
  • Pain in the abdomen.
  • Frequent need to urinate.
  • Burning sensation when urinating.
  • Older women may feel weak and feverish but have none of the other symptoms mentioned above

Other diseases or conditions have similar symptoms to cystitis, such as:

  • Urethritis (inflammation of the urethra).
  • Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate).
  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (only in men).
  • Gonorrhea.
  • Candida albicans (thrush)

Prevention of cystitis

Many cases of cystitis are not preventable. However, the following few steps can help:

  • Practice good hygiene (use fragrance-free around the genitals).
  • Completely help the bladder.
  • Avoid tight underwear and pants.
  • Wear cotton underwear

If men suffer from cystitis, it is potentially more serious than in women. Male cystitis is more likely to be caused by another underlying condition, such as a prostate infection, cancer, obstruction, or a large prostate.

In most cases of male cystitis, early treatment is effective, and the problem is resolved. However, untreated bladder infections can lead to kidney or prostate infections or damage.