The "itis" in Cystitis literally means inflammation, and in this case inflammation of the bladder; its usual cause is a urine infection. Most urine infections are due to bacteria that originate in your bowel. These bacteria can sometimes enter your urethra and travel into your bladder. Some bacteria thrive in urine and multiply quickly to cause infection.
Repeated attacks, or chronic infections are referred to as Interstitial Cystitis and are thought to be caused by dormant bacteria already present in bladder cells. In addition to E.Coli which is responsible for up to 90% of infections, some other well-known bacterium that affect the bladder include: Proteus, Klebsiella, Enterococcus, Pseudomonas and Staphylococcus.
Other risk factors for cystitis include having diabetes mellitus, being pregnant, being sexually active and radiotherapy.
Common Cystitis Symptoms
Anyone at any age can experience the symptoms of cystitis, but generally the symptoms are the same and you will experience some or all of the following:
- Pain, burning or stinging when you urinate.
- Urinating often and needing to go urgently but then passing only small amounts of urine, usually with pain and feeling that the bladder still needs to empty.
- Passing urine that is dark, cloudy or strong smelling.
- Having urine that contains traces of blood (haematuria) either visibly or when tested.
- You may feel pain low in your belly, directly above the pubic bone, or in the lower back or abdomen which may also indicate kidney involvement.
- Feeling out of sorts, weak or feverish.
Related Conditions with Similar Symptoms:
- Interstitial Cystitis
- Bladder Cancer
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as gonorrhoea or chlamydia.
- Vaginal thrush, also known as candida or a yeast infection.
- Inflammation of the urethra or urethritis.
- Urethral syndrome, in women only.
- Inflammation of the prostate gland, also known as prostatitis, in men only.
It is always important to seek medical advice and a diagnosis that you have cystitis.
Who gets 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. About half of all women have at least one bout of cystitis. For many, only one or two bouts occur in their lifetime. However, some women have recurring cystitis throughout their lives (see biofilms).
- Young men sometimes think they have cystitis if urinating is painful. Sometimes it is cystitis, caused by some physiological change that allows bacteria to get a hold, but the cause is more likely to be inflammation of the urethra (the tube that runs from the bladder, through the penis). Inflammation of the urethra is called urethritis. It is often caused by a sexually transmitted disease such as chlamydia.
- Older men (aged 50 and older) contract cystitis much more frequently than younger men. This is because the prostate gland often starts to enlarge in middle age. An enlarged prostate stops the bladder emptying efficiently, and bacteria can breed in the stagnant urine in the bladder. Men, just like women, must seek prompt diagnosis.
Babies, toddlers and young children can get cystitis. Symptoms of cystitis in children may include:
- Weakness, sleepiness
- Irritability, crying
- Lack of appetite
- Pain when urinating
Get medical attention promptly as these are also the signs of serious illness in children.
- Take D'Mannose every three hours until you are well.
- Avoid acidifying preparations or drinks, such as cranberry juice and orange juice.
- Keep your urine slightly on the alkaline side.
- Eliminate alcohol, red meat, coffee, and strong spices.
- Take proper precautions during sexual activity.
- Try taking some raw garlic and fresh Aloe Vera 3 or 4 times a day.