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Halina Tomaszczyk, MD
Halina Tomaszczyk, MD | GMC licence number: 3125964
Inflammation of the urinary bladder
Trimesan
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Cystitis – symptoms, causes, treatment

Cystitis is the most common, usually bacterial, lower urinary tract infection. It is mostly caused by Escherichia coli and other gut bacteria. 

Cystitis is definitely more common among women. Men suffer from this condition usually after the age of 50, which should be consulted with a doctor, as it may be a sign of another disease or lead to complications.

Cystitis – symptoms

If you have ever suffered from cystitis, you will easily list all its symptoms. They are so annoying and sometimes so severe that they are impossible to ignore. The main symptoms of lower urinary tract infection include:

  • Strong urinary bladder pressure;
  • Pollakiuria;
  • Pain and burning sensation at the end of urination (dysuria);
  • Bladder pain;
  • Lower abdominal pain;
  • Difficulties during urination;
  • Burning sensation in urethra;
  • Bad urine odour;
  • In more acute conditions, haematuria may occur;
  • General weakness;
  • Higher temperature;
  • Muscle pain.
  • There is not pain in the renal region. It may happen that cystitis is asymptomatic, while urinalysis and urine culture show bacteria in urine.

    Cystitis – causes

    The main cause of cystitis are bacteria. It is usually Escherichia coli and other gut bacteria that are responsible for the infection. Sometimes, lower urinary tract infections are also caused by fungi, but it usually affects persons with reduced immunity or undergoing a long-term antibiotic therapy. A bladder infection may also be induced by sexually transmitted microorganisms; hence cystitis is the most common among sexually active women. 

      The risk factors for lower urinary tract inflammation include:
    • Diabetes;
    • Pregnancy:
    • Menopause;
    • History of or existing upper urinary tract inflammation;
    • Taking contraceptive pills;
    • Kidney stones;
    • Overuse of painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs.

    Cystitis – treatment

    Medications, tablets for bladder inflammation

    Cystitis treatment relies on eliminating bacteria from the urinary tract. It happens that at the very beginning of irritating symptoms, you manage to fight the infections with homemade methods and over-the-counter preparations. Even in such a situation, it is reasonable to have your urine tested in order to make sure that everything is fine. 

    In most cases, you need to see a doctor for cystitis. Based on the results of a urinalysis or a urine culture, they will introduce an appropriate therapy. Anti-inflammatory drugs are usually prescribed; sometimes painkillers and diastolic agents are also used, but in more acute conditions, an antibiotic may be required. The treatment must be complied with until it is finished in order to avoid recurrence or more serious complications. 

      During the treatment of bladder inflammation, you need to:
    • Drink a lot of liquids – besides water, you can also drink diuretic herbal infusions;
    • Urinate regularly;
    • Under no circumstances, should you hold urine;
    • Maintain hygiene of your intimate areas;
    • Try to warm yourself up and rest;
    • Eat light food.

    Homemade methods for cystitis

    There are homemade methods to deal with cystitis, but they are to be used only on an ad hoc basis until a doctor’s appointment or they can support the proper treatment. A warm blanket and a large amount of water will not do any harm for sure. 

      Natural methods to support the cystitis treatment include:
    • Herbal bath, hip bath – e.g. based on chamomile, pine needles;
    • Herbal infusions – chamomile, lingonberry fruit and leaf infusion, sage, marjoram, horsetail;
    • Cranberries;
    • Drinking a lot of water;
    • Warm compresses, warming the body up under a duvet, hot water bottle.

    Over-the-counter cystitis drugs

    Pharmacies are full of preparations for urinary tract infections available without prescription. On the one hand, these are various preparations based on herbs and cranberries, as well as dietary supplements for bladder inflammation; on the other, they include pills containing furagin (furazidine). This will certainly help you deal with the unpleasant symptoms of cystitis and may be used as an ad hoc treatment. However, if the symptoms persist, the infection takes an acute form or recur, you are not sure whether you can use a given preparation, you must consult a doctor, who will recommend appropriate tests and make a diagnosis. Treatment may require higher doses of prescription drugs or an antibiotic therapy.

    Lower urinary tract inflammation should not be ignored. Acute and recurring bladder infections may lead to serious complications, e.g. pyelonephritis.

    How to prevent cystitis?

      If you have a tendency to catch cystitis or if you are at a higher risk of the infection, remember that there are ways to prevent it. They include:
    • Drinking a lot of liquids, especially water;
    • Maintain hygiene of your intimate areas;
    • Not holding urine;
    • Washing yourself from the front to the back;
    • Maintaining a clean toilette and being careful in public toilettes;
    • Particular hygiene after a sexual intercourse;
    • Light diet.

    Cystitis in pregnancy

    Unfortunately, cystitis is a frequent condition in pregnancy because a pregnant woman is at risk of many different infections. In such a situation, you should pay particular attention to preventing bladder inflammation and remember about appropriate intimate area hygiene and a proper diet. If the infection does occur anyway, you can mainly use only homemade methods, including drinking a lot of liquids.

    Chronic cystitis

      We can talk about chronic cystitis if the infection symptoms persist for around two weeks. Causes of such a situation may be associated with:
    • Not fully treated urinary bladder inflammations;
    • Other concomitant systemic diseases;
    • Urination disorders;
    • Reproductive system diseases;
    • Sexual activity;
    • Menstruation;
    • Kidney stones;
    • Diabetes;
    • Reduced body immunity.

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