Cystitis is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the bladder. It affects both sexes but women are more prone to contracting it. Symptoms include; a burning sensation when you pass water, an urgent need to go to the toilet, dark smelly urine, pain in the abdomen, passing only small amounts of urine and generally feeling unwell.
If you suffer from a mild form it will only last a few days. However, if you are prone to having it regularly it can take considerably longer to cure. Extreme cases can occasionally lead to kidney infections. Often cystitis can be treated without having to visit the doctor but if symptoms are extreme then it is essential that you do.
Causes Of Cystitis
Although cystitis can be triggered by sexual intercourse it is not technically a sexually transmitted disease. Bacteria from the bowel and the skin around the anus enters the bladder through the urethra. Women are more prone to catching the infection due to the urethra and back passage being close together. The risk of infection increases due to the following reasons; inability to empty the bladder, menopause, diabetes, chemotherapy, bubble bath and FGM.
When You Should Consult Your Doctor
Symptoms that continue for a long period of time and seem to be getting worse require you to visit your doctor. The NHS Choices website suggests you consult your doctor if the following occurs:-
- You need to confirm that it is cystitis.
- Symptoms last longer than a few days.
- You suffer from it frequently.
- You have blood in your urine, a temperature and pain in your side.
- You are pregnant.
- If you are a man with symptoms.
- If your child has symptoms.
When you are prone to catching cystitis it is important that you take steps to prevent the illness from occurring. These are simple ways to avoid it; wear cotton underwear, avoid using a diaphragm as contraception, go to the toilet after sex, shower rather bathe, drink plenty of water and wipe from front to back. Many people believe that cranberry juice can help to reduce symptoms but there is no scientific evidence to prove this.
This type of cystitis is not caused by a bacterial infection and most likely caused by a bladder condition encountered by middle aged women. It manifests itself as pelvic pain and difficulty going to the toilet. Antibiotics are ineffective as the causes are more physical such as; damage to the bladder, weak pelvic floor muscles, overactive immune system and allergies. Certain health conditions can cause the condition including; chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel and stress. There is no known cure but lifestyle changes can help to relieve symptoms. If you are suffering from interstitial cystitis symptoms are likely to last for a considerable period of time.
If your cystitis is caused by a bacterial infection antibiotics are used to treat it. Trimethoprim is very effective in treating urinary tract infections including cystitis. A three-day course is often enough to eradicate the infection. Treatments for interstitial cystitis range from; painkillers, antihistamines, muscle relaxants, and physiotherapy. Your doctor will advise you the best way to treat the condition and will continue to monitor its success.