What is Cystitis?
Cystitis is the medical term for inflammation of the bladder. Most of the time, the inflammation is caused by a bacterial infection and is called a "urinary infection." A bladder infection can be painful and bothersome, and it can become a serious health problem if the infection spreads to the kidneys.
Less commonly, cystitis appears as a reaction to certain medications, radiation therapy, or potential irritants, such as feminine hygiene sprays, spermicidal gels, or long-term use of a catheter. Cystitis can also appear as a complication of another disease.
Antibiotics are a common treatment for bacterial cystitis. Treatment for other types of cystitis depends on the underlying cause.
What are the Symptoms of Cystitis?
Some of the signs and symptoms of cystitis are usually:
- Constant and urgent need to urinate
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Frequent urination in small amounts
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Cloudy and strong-smelling urine
- Pelvic discomfort
- The sensation of pressure in the lower abdomen
- Low fever
For young children, having new bouts of accidental urination during the day can be a sign of a UTI. Bedwetting at night when alone is probably not associated with a urinary infection.
The urinary system includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. All of them are important in removing waste from the body. The kidneys, which are a pair of bean-shaped organs located toward the back in the upper abdomen, filter waste from the body and regulate the concentrations of many substances. Tubes called "ureters" carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder, where it is stored until it leaves the body through the urethra.
Urinary tract infections usually occur when bacteria outside the body enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply. Most cases of cystitis are caused by a type of bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli).
Bacterial bladder infections can appear in women as a result of sexual intercourse. However, even girls and women who are not sexually active are exposed to milder urinary infections, as the female genital area often harbours bacteria that can cause cystitis.
Although bacterial infections are the most common cause of cystitis, various non-infectious factors can also cause the bladder to become inflamed. Some examples are the following:
- Interstitial cystitis. The cause of this chronic inflammation of the bladder, also called "painful bladder syndrome," is unclear. Most cases are diagnosed in women. The condition can be difficult to diagnose and treat.
- Drug-induced cystitis. Certain drugs, especially the chemotherapy cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide, can cause bladder inflammation when they’re broken down components are expelled from the body.
- Radiation cystitis. Radiation treatment of the pelvic area can cause inflammatory changes in the tissue of the bladder.
- Foreign body cystitis. Long-term use of a catheter can predispose you to bacterial infections and tissue damage, two conditions that can lead to inflammation.
- Chemical cystitis Some people may be hypersensitive to chemicals in certain products, such as bubble baths, feminine hygiene sprays, or spermicidal gels, and have an allergic reaction that causes inflammation within the bladder.
- Cystitis associated with other conditions. Sometimes cystitis can appear as a complication of other disorders, such as diabetes, kidney stones, an enlarged prostate, or spinal cord injuries.
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