Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder. Cystitis, in most cases, is caused by bacteriae that penetrate the bladder through the urethra. Causes are most commonly the microbes that are normally found in the intestines. In several other urinary tract disorders, symptoms similar to those in the cystitis occur, e.g. in chronic urethritis and irritable bladder.
If you have cystitis, you will feel a strong urge to urinate, even though you will only drop a small amount of urine. Urine has a strong odor, there may be blood in it (hematuria), and the urination may be painful (dysuria). The urge for urination is sometimes so strong and sudden that you may not be able to ”hold it” and reach the toilet on time (this is known as ”urge incontinence”). Possible symptoms are also elevated temperature and dull lower abdominal pain.
Cystitis is a very common discomfort, and many women suffer from it sooner or later. It is particularly common in pregnancy, especially during the first few months.
Cystitis is an annoying illness, although it is not dangerous to health. In very rare cases, untreated bladder infection can be expanded to the kidneys (see acute pancreratitis).
What to do?
If you have symptoms of cystitis, go to a doctor who will give you an urine sample container. Before that, you have to wash your vulva thoroughly with a clean cotton and water and then, in the middle of the urination, drop a small amount of urine into a sterile bowl. The sample is then analyzed to determine the presence of the microbe.
Self-help: drink lots of fluids. Always try to completely empty the bladder whenever you are urinating, and use the self-help measures we have recommended for chronic urethritis. Always wipe from the front to the rear after the urination.
Professional help: your doctor may instantly prescribe an antibiotic treatment, especially if the symptoms are pronounced. If the condition does not improve, your doctor will prescribe a special antibiotic based on laboratory analysis of the urine sample. This should solve the problem. If the cystitis occurs more often, i.e. more than 2-3 times, your doctor will refer you to a specialist – gynecologist or urologist – who will determine if the infection is the result of some abnormality of the urinary tract.
The specialist will examine you, and maybe ask for additional urine samples. In some cases intravenous pyelogram (special X-ray of kidney and bladder) will be necessary, as well as a visual examination of the inside of the bladder (cystoscopy). If these examinations and tests point to an abnormality of the urinary tract, you will begin with the treatment. Otherwise, a specialist will prescribe antibiotics which you will have to take for a month, or even more. This should solve the problem; but, remember that the cystitis is condition that can re-occur.