Cystitis: symptoms and causes
Cystitis is a bladder inflammation, which can be infectious and non-infectious in nature. About 20–40% of women experience it in their lifetime.
Most often, cystitis is caused by an infection, when the bacterium Escherichia coli enters the bladder through the urethra (a tubular organ) and multiplies there.
Cystitis symptoms include:
- frequent and/or painful urination
- cloudy, strong-smelling or odorless urine
- lower abdominal pain
- occasional blood in the urine
Cystitis caused by an infection is treated with antibacterial drugs. If it is non-infectious in nature, the treatment depends on the cystitis causes. In either case, it is better to consult a doctor to speed up the recovery.
Cystitis risk factors
Itching, burning, frequent, and painful urination are the typical manifestations of bladder and urinary tract inflammation.
Cystitis is more common in women than in men due to their physiology. The female urethra is shorter, which makes it easier for the infection to reach the bladder.
Risk factors for cystitis include:
- frequent vigorous sex (“honeymoon cystitis”)
- infrequent urination, as well as restraining the urge to urinate
- pregnancy (as a result of hormonal changes)
- some STIs (chlamydia, gonorrhea, etc.)
- skin allergies to ingredients contained in soap, vaginal creams, or other products used for intimate hygiene
- the onset of menopause.
Cystitis and urinary tract infections can cause discomfort. As a prevention for urinary tract infection, it is recommended that you:
- drink more water. This helps remove unnecessary substances from the body.
- urinate more often. Go the toilet whenever you feel like it (preferably once every 2 hours) and try to empty the bladder completely.
- use toilet paper, wiping from the urethra to the anus to prevent infection
- empty the bladder after sexual intercourse
- take a shower rather than a bath
- don’t use soap, especially perfumed ones, for intimate hygiene, as it can cause irritation
Cystitis is, of course, unpleasant. But it’s not impossible to prevent if you follow certain rules! If you start to feel discomfort, though, you should consult a doctor.