Cystitis is inflammation of the urinary bladder. It causes increase in the number of times one passes urine and also an urgent need to pass urine. This is associated with painful urination.
One also experiences symptoms like low backache, nausea, vomiting etc. in various combinations. In severe cases, urine may pass out involuntarily which is very embarrassing for the individual.
Who is prone to Cystitis?
There are many possible reasons why you may get Cystitis, and they are different for men and women.
Women are more prone to Cystitis due to multiple reasons. They have a shorter tube connecting bladder to the exterior. This facilitates easy entry of the bacteria in the bladder. Due to this, they can acquire Cystitis even while using common public toilettes.
Menstrual bleeding is yet another cause for Cystitis in women. Blood passed during menses provides a rich medium for bacteria to grow, making them more prone to Cystitis. Poor personal hygiene during menstruation, using damp pads, also contributes to the infection.
Women can also acquire infection from their sexual partner during intercourse as these germs can easily reach the urinary bladder resulting in Cystitis.
Trauma to the birth canal during child birth is yet another risk factor which can result in infection of the genital parts as well as Cystitis. Women, who develop prolapsed uterus due to multiple child births or other factors, also suffer from chronic Cystitis. This happens because the prolapsed uterus compresses the bladder and prevents complete evacuation. Residual urine remaining in the bladder facilitates growth of bacteria leading to Cystitis.
Young men mostly acquire Cystitis due to sexually acquired infections. Germs reach the urinary bladder through genital parts due to the close proximity. Elderly men can have this problem due to enlarged prostate. Stones in the urinary tract also lead to Cystitis. Parasitic infections like schistosomiasis can affect the urinary bladder leading to its inflammation.
An indwelling catheter can cause infection and inflammation of the urinary bladder in any individual. If untreated, Cystitis can lead to infection of the kidneys which poses a crucial threat to a person’s health as there is risk of kidney failure setting in. It can also cause sepsis, i.e. generalized infection in the body.
Chronic or recurrent Cystitis leads to thickening of the bladder wall, thus causing chronic frequency and urgency of urination.
The germs commonly implicated in Cystitis are gram negative germs like E-coli, proteus mirabilis, etc. If suspected, Cystitis can be diagnosed by simple microscopic examination of a urine sample. This sample should be of the urine passed first thing in morning as germs tend to be concentrated in bladder overnight when one does not pass urine for several hours. The first few drops should be discarded as they could be contaminated by microbes present on outer surface, thus giving false results. A culture of the sample identifies the causative microbe and suitable antibiotic thus given can help cure the infection.
How to avoid Cystitis
Drinking large quantities of water (8 to 10 glasses daily), is a good measure to prevent Cystitis. This ensures passing much urine thus removing microbes also. Good menstrual hygiene helps prevent Cystitis in women. It is advisable to wash perineum after sexual intercourse to prevent settling of microbes over genitals. This prevents sexually acquired infection as well as Cystitis.
Dr Rachna Pande is a specialist in internal medicine at Ruhengeri Hospital