Cystitis is an infection of the bladder that is caused by bacteria. It occurs most often in women because of the short length of the urethra and the proximity of the urethra to the vagina. Bacteria are often found in the vagina and sexual intercourse can sometimes force bacteria into the urethra. Cystitis can also be known as a urinary tract infection and can lead to kidney complications if left untreated.
Causes of Cystitis
Most cases of cystitis are a result of a bacterial infection, but may also develop as a result of:
Long-term use of a catheter
Use of diaphragm with spermicidal agents
Sexually active women are most commonly affected, but men can suffer from cystitis as well.
Symptoms of Cystitis
Cystitis may cause several uncomfortable symptoms, including:
Constant urge to urinate
Burning sensation when urinating
Blood in the urine
Pain in the pelvic area
Pressure in the abdomen
Diagnosis of Cystitis
Cystitis can be diagnosed through a physical examination by a doctor who may also perform the following tests:
Ultrasound or X-ray may be used in some cases to diagnose other bladder problems
Treatment of Cystitis
Cystitis is usually treated through antibiotics. Cases caused by noninfectious factors are treated for the underlying cause.
Prevention of Cystitis
Although not all cases of cystitis can be avoided, there are several recommendations for reducing the risk of cystitis. They may include:
Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water and cranberry juice