Cystitis in Women

cystitis in women

Cystitis means inflammation of the bladder. It is usually caused by a urine infection. Typical symptoms are pain when you pass urine, and passing urine frequently. You may also have pain in your lower abdomen, blood in your urine and fever (high temperature). Your urine may also become cloudy and smelly.

Most urine infections are due to bacteria that come from your own bowel. Some bacteria lie around your anus (back passage) after you pass a stool (faeces). These bacteria can sometimes travel to your urethra and into your bladder and cause infection.

Note: other causes of cystitis include radiotherapy and certain chemicals.

Who develops cystitis?

Women are eight times more likely to have cystitis than men, as their urethra (the tube from the bladder that passes out urine) is shorter and opens nearer the anus.

Other risk factors for cystitis include having diabetes mellitus, being pregnant and being sexually active.

Can I be sure it is cystitis?

Some conditions cause symptoms that may be mistaken for cystitis. For example, thrush. Also, soaps, deodorants etc, may irritate your genital area and cause mild pain when you pass urine. Urine test is done to confirm the diagnosis.

What is the treatment for cystitis?

Antibiotics. A three-day course is a common treatment for most women.
Have lots to drink. This is traditional advice to "flush out the bladder".
Paracetamol or ibuprofen. These ease pain or discomfort and can also lower a high temperature.
Alkalisation of urine by drinking potassium citrate or bicarbonateimprove the symptoms of cystitis.
If your symptoms worsen or you develop a high fever ,or if your symptoms recur within two weeks after taking antibiotics then you should see your doctor.

What is the outlook?

The vast majority of women improve within a few days of developing cystitis. However, if your symptoms do not improve despite taking antibiotics then you may need an alternative antibiotic. Some bacteria causing cystitis can be resistant to some types of antibiotic.

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