About CystitisCystitis is inflammation of the lining of the bladder as a result of infection, irritation or damage, It causes burning sensations during urination and a frequent need to urinate. It is usually caused by a urine infection. Between 20 to 40 per cent of women will get cystitis in their lifetime. Cystitis is more common in pregnant women, sexually active women and women after the menopause, but it can occur at any age.
SymptomsTypical symptoms are pain when you pass urine, and passing urine frequently, smelly urine or cloudy urine. You may also have pain in your lower abdomen, blood in your urine, and fever (high temperature).
CausesThe main cause of cystitis is bacteria known as coliform bacteria, which are a common occupant of the bowel, although other bacteria may be involved. These bacteria can sometimes travel to your urethra and into your bladder. Some bacteria thrive in urine and multiply quickly to cause infection. Women are more prone to cystitis than men as their urethra (the tube from the bladder that passes out urine) is shorter and opens nearer the anus, which means that infection can occur more easily.
Cystitis in MenCystitis is common in women, but it is less common and a potentially more serious condition for men. For men the cause can be an underlying bladder or prostate infection, an obstruction or tumour, or an enlarged prostate. It's not usually serious if treated quickly, but the discomfort can be chronic and disabling. Untreated bladder infections can cause kidney or prostate infections and damage. Sexually active gay men are more likely to get cystitis than other males.
Cystitis TreatmentsThe best First Aid treatment is to drink, drink, drink! To some extent alkalising the urine helps to eradicate the germs and also soothe the bladder.
The majority of over-the-counter treatments for cystitis contain either potassium Cystopurin or sodium salts Canesten Oasis and Cymalon. It is the presence of bacteria in the urine, making it more acidic than normal, that causes the stinging and burning. These products make the urine more alkaline and render conditions less favourable for the bacteria. Sufferers should increase their fluid intake to flush out bacteria from the blader. These remedies should be taken as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms for maximum benefit.
Potassium-containing products should not be taken by patients on potassium-sparing diuretics, aldosterone antagonists or ACE inhibitors. Sodium-containing products should not be given to people with high blood pressure or heart conditions, or to pregnant women.
Women are often more prone to Cystitis during pregnancy due to the effect of hormonal changes on the urinary tract. To help avoid infection ensure you drink plenty of water and visit the toilet as soon as you need to rather than holding on. If you notice pain when passing urine or develop a fever contact your midwife or GP. Urinary infections during pregnancy need to be treated via prescription antibiotics, which your GP can provide.