Symptoms, causes, prevention, and management
Most women will experience cystitis at least once in their lifetime.
Recurrent cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder, caused mostly by E.coli bacteria.* Your bladder stores urine until you have the urge to urinate and when you have recurrent cystitis an infection inflames your bladder.
If you have cystitis, you may feel generally unwell.
The main symptoms of recurrent cystitis may be:
Although cystitis symptoms can be uncomfortable, symptoms usually improve after a few days. If you are experiencing symptoms that persist or are worsening, such as a fever, nausea or backache, make sure you visit your doctor. Blood in the urine warrants immediate medical attention.
Although harmless bacteria exist in your bowel to help your body digest food, the bacteria can enter your urinary tract where they multiply and inflame the tissue, leading to an infection.
There can be various causes of cystitis. One of the most common ways that cystitis occurs is when uropathogenic bacteria from your bowel reaches your bladder by moving from the opening of your bowel (anus) into the tube that carries urine from your bladder (urethra) to outside your body.
Women are at higher risk for cystitis than men as the female anatomy makes it more likely for bacteria to spread from bowel to urinary tract. This is because the urethra and anus are shorter and closer together.
You can also be at increased risk for cystitis if you’re sexually active, pregnant or diabetic, have recently had a bladder catheter or urological disease. Women who had gone through menopause are also at a higher risk for cystitis.
Even if you are at risk for cystitis, there are preventative measures you can take to help reduce your risk especially if you are prone to recurrent bouts of cystitis. These include:
If you think you may have symptoms of cystitis, it’s important to visit your doctor early to prevent the infection spreading to your kidneys, which may cause further damage. If left untreated for a long time it can have serious consequences.
Make sure you drink lots of water and get plenty of rest. Your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics to treat the bacterial infection. You can also try a few things at home to help your symptoms, such as:
If you would like to try natural medications, make sure check with your health professional if they are appropriate for you.
Even if you are at risk for cystitis, there are preventative measures you can take to help reduce your risk especially if you are prone to recurrent bouts of cystitis.
References available upon request.
*If pain or irritation persist for more than 48 hours consult your healthcare professional. The presence of blood in the urine warrants immediate medical attention.