Cystitis is quite a common infection in women. The infection is usually easily treatable if confined to the lower urinary tract. The urinary tract comprises the kidneys, bladder and ureters (tubes connecting the bladder with the kidneys) and the urethra. Some severe cases or upper urinary tract infection, more serious than mild cystitis, occur higher in the kidneys and or ureters.
The infection caused by a build-up of bacteria, which may come from any of a number of sources. Sexual intercourse often causes irritation or bruising in the lower urinary tract, this form of cystitis is quite common. Scientific studies show that one in three women or girls under the age of 24 years has experienced some form of urinary tract infection. There is a lesser occurrence in men because the male urethra is longer, which means that bacteria has further to travel to reach the bladder.
Cystitis does not usually present itself for several to 24 hours. Common and unmistakable symptoms of a lower urinary tract infection present as:
- Lower abdominal and back pain
- Urgent and frequent need to urinate
- A strong burning sensation and very little dark or cloudy urine often with a strong smell
- Painful burning or sting during and after urination is very often clear indicator that you have cystitis
- Painful sensation during sexual intercourse
Cystitis is a bacterial infection. The majority of cases are due to the Escherichia Coli (E. Coli), the bacteria normally found within the bowel, which finds its way into the urinary tract.
Poor hygiene is another common cause for women, who, with the shorter urethra and little or no hygiene, often end up with cystitis. The anus and the urethra in women are located close to one another, causing bacteria from the bowel to transfer to the urethra through the vagina. Sexual intercourse is often a major cause of irritation to the inner lining of the female organs, allowing a bacterial infiltration, which magnifies if there is poor hygiene.
Often the soaps for shower and bath with strong chemical fragrance are potential irritants in women, not so with men.
In pregnant women, the occurrence of cystitis is quite common. This is mainly due to the pressure applied by the enlarged uterus on the bladder, causing the bladder to never quite empty during urination, allowing a bacteria build up.
Diabetics have higher sugar levels than normal, inhibiting the natural anti-bacterial defenses in the urethra, which allows bacterial growth.
Menopause is another period when women experience a greater presentation of cystitis, due in the main to the body’s defense mechanisms to be lower during menopause.
Prolonged patient catheterisation after surgery or injury prevents the bladder from being emptied completely, allowing bacterial infection.
There have been rare examples of cystitis presentation in patients with bladder tumors or other lower abdominal growths that prevent the urinary tract from functioning efficiently, as it should.
Men are not always, let off the hook with cystitis. Although cystitis is an infection that primarily affects women, men do present with lower urinary tract infection, and they should take this very seriously. If left unchecked for any length of time, severe infection will enter the prostate and even the bladder. When a prostate enlarged, the indications are the person being unable to pass urine. When this happens, bacterial infection is likely within the bladder and urinary tract area.