What is Cystitis? Cystitis Symptoms and Treatment

Like the stomach, the bladder is a sac-shaped organ that can contract when empty. When there is no fluid in it, the bladder wall muscles shorten and thicken, ensuring that the bladder remains intact. The urinary tract from the kidneys carries urine to the bladder, causing this structure to fill with fluid. The bladder, which gradually expands with the increase in the amount of incoming fluid, produces signals of urinary urgency when it reaches a certain limit. Bladder infections or inflammation are generally more common in women. The underlying reason for this situation is considered to be related to the position and shorter length of the urethra, which is the structure through which the urinary tract opens to the outside of the body in women.

What is Cystitis?

Cystitis is a term meaning bladder inflammation. This inflammatory process is usually triggered by a bacterial urinary tract infection. In addition to the pain and discomfort that occur after the development of cystitis, it should not be forgotten that if the disease progresses to the kidneys, it can cause serious health problems.

Apart from infectious diseases, cystitis may also develop less frequently in people following exposure to various drugs, radiation therapy, or the use of irritating substances or catheters. Treatment of cystitis also varies depending on the underlying cause. Although many cases of cystitis have an acute (sudden) onset, bladder inflammation, called interstitial cystitis, presents as a long-term (chronic) health problem.

What are the symptoms of cystitis?

Many signs and symptoms may occur following the development of cystitis in a person. The symptoms of cystitis can be summarized as follows:

  • frequent urination
  • Still feeling the need to urinate after urinating
  • Urine that is cloudy in color and smells bad
  • Fever that is not very high with urinary tract infection
  • blood in urine
  • Pain during sexual activity
  • Feeling of fullness or pressure in the bladder
  • Cramping cystitis pain in the back and abdomen

If cystitis is not treated, this disease in the bladder can progress to the kidneys and cause a very serious disease. As a result of the kidneys being affected, in addition to the above symptoms, symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, flank pain, chills and shivering may also occur. Following kidney involvement, the person’s body temperature also rises above normal.

What Causes Cystitis?

In cases of acute cystitis, an underlying bacterial infection is typically detected. In addition to cystitis cases in women, the most frequently detected microorganism in cystitis cases in children is e.coli bacteria, and it is considered to be responsible for approximately 75-95% of lower urinary tract infections.

Apart from infectious diseases, there are also different causes of cystitis, which are classified as “non-infectious cystitis”:

  • Interstitial Cystitis: The underlying cause of chronic cystitis, also known as painful bladder syndrome, is not known for certain. Traumas to the bladder, excessive stretching of the bladder muscles due to frequent urinary retention, weakness of the pelvic floor muscles, autoimmune diseases in which the immune system produces antibodies against its own cells and tissues, recurrent bacterial infections, hypersensitivity of the nerves in the pelvic area or spinal cord traumas are possible causes of interstitial cystitis. are considered among the reasons. This condition, which is usually detected in women, can be challenging both in terms of diagnosis and treatment.

In interstitial cystitis, there is an inflammatory process in the muscular layers of the bladder. The feeling of discomfort can range from mild burning to severe pain. This feeling is accompanied by various urination-related complaints, as in other cystitis cases.

  • Drug-Related Cystitis: Metabolites of chemotherapy drugs containing various active ingredients such as cyclophosphamide can cause the development of cystitis by stimulating the formation of an inflammatory response in the bladder.
  • Radiation Cystitis: Radiation therapy (radiotherapy) used for the treatment of cancer may cause damage to some healthy body cells in addition to bad cells. Rays given to the pelvic area may affect the bladder tissue, stimulating inflammation and resulting in the development of cystitis.
  • Foreign Body Cystitis: Long-term use of devices such as catheters (urinary catheters) is a risk factor for bacterial infections and tissue damage. The resulting damage and infection may trigger inflammation of this area, leading to the development of cystitis.
  • Chemical Cystitis: Due to the chemicals contained in some personal hygiene products, it may cause irritation of the bladder tissue with allergic reactions and the development of cystitis. The use of spermicide effective gels and diaphragms, various sprays and chemicals contained in cleaning products used during bathing are among the causes of this type of cystitis.
  • Cystitis Associated with Other Conditions: In addition to the types and causes of cystitis mentioned, cystitis may also occur in some people during the course of conditions such as diabetes, kidney stones, prostate enlargement and HIV infection.

Although the majority of cystitis cases are women, it should not be forgotten that men may also develop cystitis due to the same reasons.

How is Cystitis Diagnosed?

After applying to health institutions with complaints of cystitis, various tests may be used in the diagnostic approach, following physical examination and medical history taking by physicians. Urine tests, cystoscopy and various imaging tests are among the diagnostic tools that can be used to diagnose cystitis.

Urine tests allow the examination of a person’s urine sample to determine whether it contains bacteria or inflammation. When necessary, this urine can be cultured to determine which microorganism is the causative agent and which drugs it is sensitive to. Detection of 10 or more immune cells in midstream urine in urine analysis is a diagnostic finding for urinary tract infection. Detecting 100,000 bacterial colonies per milliliter in cultured urine is considered important for the diagnosis of cystitis.

Cystoscopy is a diagnostic tool that allows examination of the bladder by advancing a thin tube with a light source and camera through the urethra. If necessary, physicians may also collect small tissue samples from various parts of the bladder during cystoscopy via biopsy for further examination.

Although not used very frequently, radiological examinations such as x-ray and ultrasonography are among the tools that may have diagnostic value for other causes of cystitis such as structural abnormalities of the bladder or tumoral formations.

How is Cystitis Treated?

Since cystitis is usually caused by bacteria, the first step of treatment is antibiotic drugs. If an underlying infection cannot be detected, cystitis treatment can only be achieved by finding and eliminating the possible cause.

When deciding which antibiotic drug to use, the person’s general health condition, the type of bacteria present and the culture results are taken into consideration. In the first cystitis infection, recovery can usually occur within 1-2 days following the start of antibiotic treatment. What people should pay attention to is that, even though recovery has occurred, they should continue to use antibiotic medications for the duration they were prescribed. In recurrent infections, longer and stronger antibiotic treatment may be used.

Since the underlying cause of inflammation in interstitial cystitis cases is not fully understood, there is no clear answer to the question “how to cure interstitial cystitis”. In order to keep the complaints under control and to treat chronic cystitis in these cases, various medications, bladder stretching procedures (such as cystitis or nerve stimulation) can be used.

In addition to these treatment methods, with the knowledge and advice of physicians, you can do something to answer the question of how to cure cystitis, such as increasing fluid consumption, reducing coffee consumption because caffeine irritates the bladder, applying a hot water bottle to the lower abdomen, avoiding wearing tight clothing and consuming blueberry juice. Various applications can also contribute to alleviating cystitis complaints.

The urinary system (kidneys and urinary tract) are body structures that are very important for your general health. If you observe symptoms related to the urinary tract in your body, it is recommended that you contact health institutions and get support from specialist physicians.


Abbas Jahangir

I am a researcher and writer with a background in food and nutritional science. I am the founder of Foodstrend.com, our reputable online platform offering scientifically-backed articles on health, food, nutrition, kitchen tips, recipes, diet, and fitness. With a commitment to providing accurate and reliable information, we strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices. Join us on Foodstrend.com's journey toward a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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