Cystitis is an inflammation affecting the lower part of the urinary tract (especially the bladder). It is due to the presence of microorganisms (bacteria or fungi) initially on the perineum and then finding their way back up through the urine into the bladder, but ultimately remaining confined to the lower part of the urinary tract. If the inflammation moves up in the tract, it can reach the kidneys: it is then called pyelonephritis, a less common condition. Extremely troublesome and uncomfortable, the lower urinary tract infection mainly affects women, because they have a shorter urethra (duct to drain the bladder during urination).
The symptoms of cystitis are:
- frequent need to urinate with small quantities passign through each time;
- burning sensation when urinating;
- urgent needs to urinate;
- smelly or cloudy urine;
- difficulty urinating and the need to push.
The condition must be treated quickly to prevent kidney damage.
The diagnosis is made after clinical examination. The examination of the patient is important.
A healthcare professional will also perform a urinalysis, which generally shows the presence of white blood cells (which leads to an infection), or nitrite, indicating the presence of bacteria in the urine. In this case, a secondary urinalysis including the identification of the causative organism in the laboratory is recommended. In the case of "complicated" cystitis, that is to say cystitis occurring in men and women over 65, pregnant women, immunocompromised or diabetic patients, an ultrasound of the kidneys and the bladder is frequently performed or even a cystography.
Treatment generally relies on the use of oral antibiotics. The antibiotic may be taken as a single one-off dose or over a few days. It is also imperative to hydrate properly so as to flush out the germs in question: about 2L of water per day. One may also use herbal therapy: cranberry extracts, heather ...
To prevent the occurrence of cystitis, it is advisable to:
- drink an adequate amount of water every day;
- for women, always perform front to back while wiping (this avoids putting the urethra in contact with intestinal germs);
- urinate after sexual intercourse.