Cystitis is the name given to the condition of bladder inflammation. This condition is usually caused by infection of the bladder and is more common in women than in men. There are two types of Cystitis – acute cases (temporary/ short-term) and interstitial cases (chronic/ long-term).
What is Cystitis?
Cystitis is a type of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) and is common in women. It is not a very serious condition and is usually short-lived if treated in time. While not a cause for serious concern, treatment of early-stage Cystitis is always better than letting the body heal on its own. Mild cases of Cystitis are known to get cured on their own without requiring treatment and doctor’s visits, but it is always better to get it checked out immediately.
People are known to have several episodes of Cystitis that occur frequently. These people may need long-term treatment since mild Cystitis is usually cured within 2 – 3 days. Cystitis, if not cured and treated in time, could lead to kidney infection. Hence, it is always prudent to get it checked and treated immediately.
What causes Cystitis?
Cystitis is usually caused by a bacterial infection in the bladder or urinary tract. It occurs when there is bacteria build up in the urethra and bladder (this region is normally sterile/ microbe-free). These bacteria attach themselves to the walls or lining of the bladder and cause irritation and inflammation in the area. Cystitis is not always caused by bacteria and in some cases, may also be a result of certain hygiene products like tampons and sanitary napkins and medicines that cause inflammation.
Cystitis affects members of both sexes and ages. It is more common in females than in males since women have urethras that are shorter than men. Invariably, Cystitis is caused by bacteria present in the bowel that reaches the urinary tract and causes transference of bacteria. The bacteria present in the bowel are needed for healthy stools, but when in contact with the sterile passage of the urinary tract, become infectious. Cystitis is very common in patients currently hospitalized and using urinary catheters. Another cause of Cystitis is unprotected sexual intercourse where transference of bacteria is possible. Elderly women and menopausal women are also more susceptible to Cystitis since the walls of the urethra get thinner with age. This increases the chances of infection and irritation.
What are the symptoms of Cystitis?
Cystitis has several symptoms that can be used as identifiers. Some of the symptoms are:
- Cloudy urine
- Strong smelling urine
- Increase in frequency of urination
- Blood in the urine being passed
- Abdominal and back cramping
- Frequent urge to urinate even after emptying the bladder
- Fever in combination with urinary tract infection
- Pain during intercourse
- Constant feeling of pressure or fullness in the bladder
If the infection caused by Cystitis spreads to the kidneys, it could become serious. Apart from the symptoms above, the symptoms of a kidney infection are:
- Back and side pain
Elderly individuals and children may experience weakness, fever, and chills in case of Cystitis.
What are the treatments for Cystitis?
Mild cases of Cystitis may resolve without needing treatment. Cystitis that is acute in condition may be treated with a 3 days course of antibiotics prescribed the doctor. Chronic cases of Cystitis can be cured with a 7 – 10 days course of antibiotics – this is based on the response from the patient and the level of the infection that has spread. The symptoms, however, should start to ease within a day of medication. Patients should continue taking the medication for the entire course prescribed by the doctor since the infection could still be present even after the symptoms disappear.
If the symptoms persist even after the first day or two of the medication, please inform your doctor immediately so that the medication can be adjusted according to your body requirement. Patients suffering from diabetes or those with weakened immune systems may take longer to heal since they have a higher risk of infections spreading to the kidneys.
How to ease Cystitis?
Cystitis may be eased with a few other methods while on medication. People suffering from Cystitis should avoid wearing tight underwear and stick to breathable cotton undergarments. Avoid wearing tight pants that can cause a buildup of sweat or tightness in the groin region. Also, avoid having intercourse during this time since the infection can spread. Patients should also urinate frequently and empty the bladder completely to ease any pressure in the bladder. Eat foods that are strong in water content to help pass better urine and you could also start a detox diet to help ease the symptoms of Cystitis.