Recurrent Cystitis Without Infection

Cystitis is a common urinary tract infection most women experience in their lifetime.  Most cases are mild and are treatable with antibiotics. Men and women can get the condition but it is more common in women. Many women are able to manage their symptoms without visiting their doctor.  Bacterial cystitis is curable and controllable with medication, however, some women have recurring bouts of the condition and find it difficult to manage.

Causes of bacterial cystitis include; sexual intercourse, not emptying your bladder, not wiping from front to back, kidney problems, type of contraception and the effect of hormones in the body.  The infection causes inflammation of the bladder causing the following symptoms; cloudy or bloody urine, painful urination, slight fever and an urgent need to go to the toilet. Antibiotics are the most effective way to treat this type of cystitis.

A bacterial infection does not cause interstitial cystitis which is a condition affecting women in their middle ages.  It is a physical condition that has many causes making it difficult to treat. A bacterial infection is not present in interstitial cystitis so antibiotics will not treat the symptoms.  Treatment requires a lot of trial and error until it relieves the symptoms. Most women with this condition learn to deal with the discomfort interstitial cystitis.

What Is Interstitial Cystitis?

Interstitial cystitis is bladder pain affecting the urinary tract lasting six weeks or more without an infection.  The intensity of pain varies and some people get it sporadically while others suffer chronic pain. Again women are more likely to suffer from the condition than men.  Most people who have interstitial cystitis also have an underlying pain condition such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome or Lupus.

Symptoms include; pelvic pain, the urgency to urinate, needing to wee more often and needing to go to the toilet at night time.  Determining the cause is a challenge for doctors because the bladder is often inflamed, ulcerated, scarred or rigid. Treating the condition is also complicated due to the many different causes.

Treatment

Sadly there is no magic pill that will cure interstitial cystitis so lifestyle changes and appropriate medication can relieve symptoms.  Lifestyle changes such as; avoiding some foods, reducing stress, giving up smoking, drinking less liquid and going to the toilet regularly help to reduce symptoms.  Medication including painkillers, antihistamines and drugs that help to repair the bladder lining also relieve symptoms. Sometimes medication is inserted into the bladder using a catheter.

Doctors also recommend treatment such as; physiotherapy,  training the bladder, talk therapy and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) which all help to deal with the pain.  In the worst cases, surgery is the only option procedures include; cauterisation, bladder distention, BOTOX, an implant or increasing the size of the bladder. Sometimes if everything else fails and your discomfort is intolerable removing the bladder is the only option. (Source: NHS Choices).

Don’t Suffer In Silence

A typical bout of bacterial cystitis lasts for three days and goes completely after tender loving care.  If you suffer from symptoms for longer than a week it is important that you visit your doctor. Leaving it too long leads to kidney infections making it more difficult to treat the condition.

If you continually have pelvic pain and cystitis symptoms without an infection it is important that you make a doctor’s appointment.  The constant pain of interstitial cystitis causes emotional distress as well as physical discomfort. Don’t suffer in silence and seek advice before the condition gets you down.  

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