Cystitis is an infection of the bladder, usually caused by bacterial infection. It typically affects women, and mild symptoms often disappear on their own, but if they are still present after three days then you should seek treatment. Cystitis is not usually serious and mainly causes irritation and inconvenience but a bladder infection that is left untreated can spread to the kidneys, causing a more serious infection.
Cystitis tends to occur when bacteria from the bowel, or the surface of the skin, get into the urethra and travel up into the bladder. There are several factors that increase the risk of this happening, including frequent sex, wiping from back to front after using the toilet, pregnancy, using barrier contraception or spermicide, and using a catheter. It is also more likely to affect women over the age of 75 or those with a weak immune system.
There are steps you can take to reduce the chance of getting cystitis. These include:
Mild cystitis will often go away on its own. If your symptoms persist after three days, or if they get worse, then visit your GP for appropriate treatment. If you have experienced cystitis in the past then you can order your treatment directly from Dr Felix.
The symptoms of cystitis include:
A healthcare professional will assess your symptoms and may ask you to provide a urine sample in order to diagnose cystitis. Sometimes cystitis can be diagnosed based on symptoms alone.
Cystitis usually affects women as they have a shorter urethra which makes it easier for bacteria to travel up it. Cystitis can occasionally affect men however and is usually more common in men who have anal sex. It can also be a sign of an underlying condition such as a kidney or prostate infection, an enlarged prostate gland or diabetes. The symptoms of male cystitis are similar to female cystitis and include:
Cystitis can have a significant effect on mental health, particularly in the elderly. Cystitis and urinary tract infections have been known to cause confusion, dehydration, malnourishment and depression. It may have a greater impact on an individual with memory problems, such as dementia, and can exacerbate these conditions.
Cystitis is usually treated with a short course of antibiotics. The symptoms can often clear up very quickly but it's important to keep taking the antibiotics for the length of time prescribed to make sure the infection is treated properly.
Home remedies for cystitis can help in mild cases. If your symptoms persist or worsen after three days then see your GP for treatment. Drinking lots of water to flush out the bacteria and taking mild painkillers can help to ease the symptoms. You should also avoid sex until the infection has cleared up as this can make it worse. Drinking cranberry juice is believed to help cystitis given the antioxidant nature of the berry, however, there is limited evidence that this works.
One of the main symptoms of cystitis is experiencing pain, irritation or a burning sensation while urinating. Other typical symptoms are feeling a frequent need to urinate, or feeling you need to urinate more urgently than normal. However, these symptoms can also be a sign of a sexually transmitted infection. Your doctor can perform a urine test to determine whether or not you have cystitis. If you have had unprotected sex with a new partner then you may want to get tested for STIs to rule that out. If you have any new discharge from the vagina or penis, this makes an STI more likely.
Cystitis is relatively harmless and usually clears up within a couple of days. However, if it is left untreated then the infection can spread to the kidneys and lead to a more serious infection.
In most cases, cystitis does not cause complications but if the infection is left untreated it can travel to the kidneys and cause a kidney infection.
Cystitis typically causes burning, pain or irritation while urinating, needing to pass urine more frequently and urgently than usual and feeling like your bladder isn't empty after going to the toilet. Symptoms of an STI may include an unusual discharge, bleeding from the vagina, pain during or after sex and visible sores or warts. If you are unsure, visit your GP who will assess your symptoms and do a urine test to determine whether or not you have cystitis. You can also order a home STI testing kit from Dr Felix to check up on your sexual health.
“Honeymoon cystitis” is the name given to the occurrence of cystitis following a period of frequent sexual intercourse. Sex is a common trigger for cystitis. This is because bacteria gets pushed into the urethra which then travels to the bladder where the infection occurs. The best way to avoid this is to urinate after sex to flush out the bacteria.
Alcohol should be avoided while you have cystitis as it can also irritate the bladder which can worsen your symptoms.
Wearing tight clothes such as skinny jeans or yoga pants doesn’t directly cause cystitis but it can encourage the spread of existing bacteria. Always wearing clean underwear and clothing can help to prevent this, as well as sticking to natural fabrics such as cotton which allow your skin to breathe.
Sex is one of the main triggers for cystitis. This is because, during sex, bacteria from the genitals or anus can be pushed into the urethra. The female anatomy means that the urethra is shorter and closer to both the anus and vagina so it's easier for bacteria to get into the urethra than in males. To help prevent cystitis triggered by sex, be sure to urinate after sex, as this can help to flush any bacteria away from the urethra. In addition, be careful not to introduce bacteria from the anus into the vagina or urethra by changing condoms between anal and vaginal sex. In addition, it’s recommended to clean sex toys before and after each use to prevent bacterial contamination.
Cystitis is more common in women but men can also get it. Cystitis is not a sexually transmitted infection and cannot be passed on during sexual intercourse, so if your partner has it this does not mean you will get it too. The infection can be more serious in men and may be a sign of an underlying condition. If you’re male and experience any of the symptoms of cystitis, it’s important to see your GP before taking any treatment.
Cystitis is the name given to inflammation of the bladder, which is most commonly caused by a urinary tract infection (UTI). Cystitis can also be caused by certain medications or medical procedures and can develop as a chronic (long-term) condition known as chronic cystitis where symptoms are present long-term, often without any identifiable infection.
Cystitis does not typically affect fertility in either women or men.
Women going through menopause can be more likely to get cystitis. This is because the urethra lining can become thinner and the bacteria levels in the vagina can change, making infection more likely.
Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland, only present in men. It’s often caused by the same kind of bacteria as cystitis. In men, cystitis can be a sign of underlying prostatitis but the two infections are not always related. Always see your GP if you experience cystitis so that they can determine whether or not there is an underlying cause.
Cystitis is more common during pregnancy as the hormone levels in the body change. Given that most women will experience cystitis at some point during their lives, it's not necessarily a sign of pregnancy on its own. If your period is late and you feel nauseous, have stomach pain or breast tenderness then these are signs you might be pregnant.