Cystitis refers to inflammation or swelling of the bladder. It causes:
- A burning and frequent need to urinate.
- Discomfort or stinging when urinating.
Cystitis is generally the effect of an infection in the bladder, but it can also be triggered by irritation or injury. Cystitis triggered by a bladder infection is occasionally referred to as ‘bacterial cystitis’.
If bladder infections are left untreated, they can cause kidney infections.
Cystitis is more frequent with females because females have a shorter urethra (the pipe that flows from the bladder out the body), and its opening is positioned near to the anus. This makes it easy for germs from the anus to penetrate the bladder which can lead to infections.
Almost all females will have cystitis at some point. Around 20 percent of females who have experienced cystitis will get it again. Cystitis can take place at any age, but it is more frequent in:
- Females who are pregnant;
- Females who are sexually active; and
- Usually after menopause.
Cystitis is less frequent with males, but possibly more severe when it does occur. This is because it could be triggered by:
- A primary bladder or prostate infection; or
- A blockage in the urinary tract.
Male cystitis is not generally serious if managed quickly, but it can be very excruciating.
If you have never had cystitis before, speak to your GP. If you are certain that you have mild cystitis and do not require a GP, there are methods that you can apply yourself.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as paracetamol can be taken to ease the pain.
- Drinking lots of water is often suggested as a treatment for cystitis. There is no proof that this is useful, though drinking about 6 glasses of water a day is normally good for your health. Also stay away from alcohol.