Cystitis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments - A Comprehensive Guide

This guide has been created to help you understand cystitis infections. It's designed to answer some of the most common questions, give you an overview of the condition, and provide a few tips to help prevent a recurrence.

Cystitis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments - A Comprehensive Guide

What is Cystitis?

Cystitis is the inflammation of your bladder, which affects a lot of people including women, men, and children.

Most of the time, cystitis is caused by a urinary tract infection (UTI). A UTI usually happens when bacteria enter the bladder or urethra and begin to grow and multiply.

The bladder is like a muscular bag attached to the urinary tract. This is a tube that carries urine from the bladder. When bacteria travel up this passage and infect the urine, inflammation of the bladder lining takes place. Mostly, this type of inflammation will make you feel pain or a burning sensation when urine is passed.

A lot of things could contribute to this, such as an imbalanced bacteria in your body, which can lead to an infection and then inflammation. However, cystitis may not be necessarily a result of an infection. For instance, certain medicines and hygiene ornaments can also cause inflammation.

Cystitis is a type of infection that can affect anyone, however, women are more likely to get cystitis than men. Once in their lives, most women will experience cystitis. It can be painful and annoying but, it is not considered to be dangerous or contagious. Cystitis is not an infection that can be transmitted to your partner during sexual intercourse.

Treating cystitis depends on its underlying cause. Most cases of cystitis occur suddenly and are considered to be acute, while chronic long-term ones are referred to as Interstitial Cystitis. The urinary tract infection can typically spread from the bladder and work its way up to the kidneys, this is why getting it treated right away is essential. An untreated UTI can cause permanent damage or even lead to kidney failure.

What are the Main Symptoms of Cystitis?

The symptoms of cystitis

The main symptoms of cystitis are as follows:

  • You can't hold it anymore and feel a strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • When urinating, you feel pain or a burning sensation
  • Frequent urination with a small amount of urine
  • Having blood in the urine. This is also known as (Hematuria)
  • Having a strong-smelling urine
  • Feeling uncomfortable in your Pelvic area.
  • The sensation of pressure below your belly button (abdomen)
  • Having pain or a burning sensation after any sexual intercourse

If you have a bladder infection and it spreads to your kidneys, that's a serious health issue. Along with the symptoms from above, the symptoms of kidney infections include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Back or Side pain
  • Chills

There are more than just the aforementioned symptoms that may accompany a kidney infection. Fever is not typically present in cases of cystitis, but can be observed with an acute and severe case of inflammation in the bladder. Blood in the urine, on the other hand, is often a symptom of another serious condition called Hematuria. Immediately seek medical attention if you think you have a kidney infection. 

What are the main causes of Cystitis?

main causes of cystitis

Cystitis is an infection of the urinary bladder. The main causes of cystitis are bacteria, bladder stones, or a sexually transmitted disease.

Bacteria: Bacteria can cause cystitis when it enters the urethra and reaches the bladder. This can happen when someone has poor hygiene or if they have an infection in their urethra.

Bladder stone: A bladder stone is a solid piece of material that blocks the flow of urine from the kidney to the bladder. Bladder stones are most commonly caused by an infection, but they can also be caused by calcium deposits in the kidneys or urinary tract infections.

Sexually transmitted disease: Sexually transmitted diseases such as Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Trichomoniasis can cause cystitis when they enter through the urethra and travel to the bladder.

The Types of Cystitis

  • Bacterial Cystitis

    Commonly, UTIs happen when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra and start to multiply. Most cases of cystitis are caused by Escherichia Coli bacteria, but other types of bacteria can also cause infection. 

    Bacterial infection may occur in any woman after any sexual intercourse even if they are not sexually active. Out of all the infections, UTIs are one of the most common. The genitals are is often home to bacteria that can cause cystitis.

  • Interstitial Cystitis

    The main cause of this type of chronic bladder inflammation is known as Bladder Syndrome. While the root cause of this infection is not clear, in most cases, women are the ones who are most affected by this infection. This type of condition can be difficult to diagnose and treat.

  • Drug-Related Cystitis

    Some medicines, such as cancer drugs (chemotherapy), can cause havoc in the body by targeting fast-growing cells, that's why when they break down and exit your body they can cause inflammation in the urinary tract/bladder.

  • Radiation Cystitis

    The radiation treatment of the pelvic region can lead to inflammatory changes in bladder tissue.

  • Foreign-body Cystitis

    Long-term use of a catheter can lead to bacterial infections and bladder damage, both of which are risk factors for bladder inflammation.

  • Chemical Cystitis

    Some people may be sensitive to chemicals found in certain products. This can include personal hygiene spray, spermicidal jelly, or bubble baths, which can cause an allergic reaction and inflammation.

  • Cystitis associated with other conditions

    Cystitis can arise as a complication of other conditions, such as diabetes, kidney stones, prostate enlargement, or spinal cord injury.

What is the Risk Factor of Cystitis?

The risk Factor of Cystitis

Some people are more susceptible to developing bladder infections than others. Women are more likely to have UTIs than men, usually because of the shorter urethra (muscle tube) in females. The type of bacteria can also contribute to UTI development.

You may be at greater risk of bladder infections or repeated UTIs if you are:

  • Sexually Active

    During sexual intercourse, bacteria may easily be pushed inside the urethra. That’s why it is always important to take hygienic precautions before and after any sexual intercourse.

  • Frequent use of Birth Control

    Using a Diaphragm can lead to UTIs and may have a higher risk of cystitis infection because of spermicide associated with it.

  • Pregnant Condition

    Pregnant women may be more likely to experience bladder infections due to changes in their hormones.

  • Experiencing Menopause

    Menopause often changes a women's hormone levels and this, in turn, can lead to UTIs.

  • Interference with the Flow of Urine

    This condition mainly occurs when a balder stone blocks the flow of urine from the kidney or suffering from an enlarged prostate.

  • Changes in the Immune System

    Being diagnosed with certain conditions can cause this to happen. Conditions such as diabetes, HIV infection, or cancer treatment are often the culprits.

  • Long-term use of Urinary Catheters

    This is a type of tube that is usually used by elders with chronic illnesses. Frequent use of urinary catheters can lead to a higher risk of infection along with bladder tissue damage.

Cystitis - The Do’s and Don'ts

Cystitis - The Do’s and Don'ts

The Dos:

  • Always wipe from the front towards the anus to avoid spreading bacteria.
  • After any sexual intercourse, go to pee to let those fluids out.
  • Drink a lot of fluids, including water. This helps you not feel thirsty, pee more often, and help to flush out any bacteria-causing infections.
  • Have a shower rather than a bath - this stops your genitals from coming into contact with the mildew-fighting agents in cleaning products for too long.
  • For women, wash the skin situated around the vaginal area with plain water before and after any sexual intercourse.
  • Change soiled diapers or incontinence pads frequently.
  • To prevent infection and promote hygienic measures, always keep your genital area clean and dry.

The Don’ts :

  • Don’t use fragrance-free soap, bubble bath, and talcum powder.
  • Don’t use spermicide with condoms or a diaphragm. Try using a different type of contraception or any non-spermicidal lube instead.
  • If you feel the urge to pee, just do it. Don’t and never hold your pee. This can be extremely harmful.
  • When feeling the need to pee, don’t rush, and try to empty your bladder quickly. Let the flow of fluids drain out naturally.
  • Don’t consume a lot of alcoholic or caffeinated drinks. This will certainly irritate your bladder.
  • Avoid sugar-filled foods and drinks. They always encourage the growth of bacteria.

How to diagnose Cystitis?

How to diagnosed Cystitis

There are various ways to identify the cause of cystitis. A doctor may ask for a urine sample to find out where the cystitis is coming from. Other tests can also help, including cystoscopy which takes an image of your bladder and tests it for causes.

A cystoscopy is a relatively quick procedure in which the bladder can be inspected with a thin tube, often with a camera attached. In addition, the doctor can collect a small tissue sample from the bladder which is used for additional testing if needed.

Imaging tests are not always necessary, but they help make the right diagnosis if you have cystitis. An X-Ray or an ultrasound can rule out other causes of cystitis like a structural issue or tumor.

How to treat Cystitis?

Antibiotic such as Paracetamol is an effective treatment for bacterial cystitis. Interstitial cystitis can also be treated with medication. However, medication for Interstitial Cystitis varies depending on its cause.

Home Care

There are many different kinds of home care treatments out there if you're looking for relief. This includes simple methods, such as:

  • Placing a heating pad on your stomach or back
  • Generic pain relievers like Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen can help with the pain
  • Having a sitz bath is another way to clean the pelvic area to keep you away from infections.

Cystitis - A Natural Home Remedy

The Flush-A-Bye-Baby (The Miracle Juices Collection)

Keeping an optimal hydration level, using a heating pad or hot water bottle for pain relief, and staying away from caffeinated beverages are all home-based ways to manage UTI symptoms.

In our Miracle Juices collection we came up with an amazing natural homemade remedy that will help you treat cystitis naturally. This healthy and simple juices is know as the Flush-A-Bye-Baby.

Related: Healthy And Simple Juices: The Flush-A-Bye-Baby (Good for Interstitial Cystitis)

Related: Do I have interstitial cystitis quiz

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