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Cystitis: Introduction

Cystitis is a general term for an inflammation of the bladder and possibly the urethra that can occur with or without a urinary tract infection. Most often, cystitis is caused by a bladder infection.

Cystitis caused by a urinary tract infection is the result an invasion of bacteria into the bladder. Normally, the bladder, urethra and the rest of the urinary tract are sterile and contain no bacteria or other microorganisms. Cystitis can occur when bacteria can get into the bladder from outside the body through the urethra. Bacteria can also come from other parts of the body and cause cystitis by travelling through the bloodstream. In men, cystitis can also be caused by an inflamed prostate or an enlarged prostate. Cystitis can also be caused by exposure of the genitals to perfumed soaps or bubble baths, which can irritate the urethra.

Cystitis results in symptoms, such as feeling the need to urine in a hurry (urgency) and producing only small amounts of urine. Symptoms may vary between individuals in intensity. For more information on symptoms, refer to symptoms of cystitis.

Untreated cystitis that is caused by a urinary tract infection can lead to potentially serious complications in some people. These include pyelonephritis, kidney failure and sepsis. Untreated cystitis can also result in problems with a pregnancy, such premature birth and having a low birth weight baby.

Cystitis occurs more often in women than in men, because the urethra in women is shorter than a man's urethra. This makes it easier for bacteria to get into the female bladder. Women who are sexually active, who use diaphragms for birth control, and/or are past menopause are at an increased risk for a cystitis caused by a urinary tract infection.

Certain other populations are also at a higher risk for developing cystitis. They include the elderly and people with a history of kidney stones, kidney disease, or chronic conditions that affect the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS and diabetes. People who have an indwelling catheter in their bladder are also at risk.

Making a diagnosis of a cystitis begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination. It also includes performing a urinalysis test, which checks for the presence of pus, white blood cells, and bacteria in the urine, which point to cystitis caused by a bacterial infection. If infection is present, a urine culture and sensitivity is usually performed to find the exact microorganism that is causing the infection and to determine the most effective antibiotic to treat it.

A diagnosis of cystitis can easily be missed or delayed in the elderly for because symptoms may be assumed to be due to other conditions, such as incontinence or aging. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of cystitis.

Mild cystitis that is not accompanied with complications, such as pyelonephritis, is generally treated with pushing fluids and drinking at least eight eight ounce glasses of water every day. People who are sensitive to perfumes and bubble bath products are advised to discontinue their use. Medications may be prescribed if an underlying bacterial urinary tract infection is causing the cystitis. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of cystitis. ...more »

Cystitis: Bladder infection or inflammation. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Cystitis is available below.

Cystitis: Broader Related Topics


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