Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder. It affects people of both sexes and all ages but is typically more common among women.
In most cases, cystitis is caused by urinary tract infections (UTI). UTIs occur when there is a bacterial infection in the bladder or urethra. When left untreated, the infection may pose a serious health risk if it spreads to your kidneys. Cystitis does not always come from an infection. For example, certain medicines and hygiene products can also cause inflammation.
Below are some signs and symptoms that you can look out for:
When a bladder infection is left untreated, it may lead to a kidney infection. See your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms in addition to the symptoms above:
There are many possible causes of cystitis, which mainly include:
Cystitis tends to be more common in women due to their shorter urethra, but cystitis can occur in both men and women.
The following groups are more susceptible to cystitis:
Your doctor may ask you about the relevant symptoms and medical history, in addition to performing the following tests to diagnose cystitis:
Your doctor may collect a urine sample to determine whether bacteria, blood or pus is in your urine. A urine bacteria culture is often done as well.
A cystoscope is inserted into your bladder through the urethra to view your urinary tract for signs of cystitis. In some cases, a biopsy may be taken for lab analysis.
Prevention is better than cure. Women should practise good hygiene by wiping from front to back after a bowel movement, to prevent bacteria from spreading. Taking showers instead of baths may also help, and make sure to wash skin gently in the genital area. After sexual intercourse, women should empty their bladders. It is a good habit to drink adequate water daily. It is also important to avoid hygiene products that contain chemicals that would irritate the area. Probiotics may also be beneficial in the prevention of cystitis.
The outlook for cystitis is generally good if the underlying condition is treated early. It’s important to consult your gynaecologist if you experience any of the above symptoms of cystitis.
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