What is cystitis?

Cystitis means inflammation of the bladder. It is usually caused by bacteria. Cystitis is more common in women than men probably because the tube leading out of the bladder, the urethra, is relatively short in women. The inflammation causes dysuria, (pain during micturition - emptying of the bladder) and Frequency or shortened intervals between micturition. Haematuria, blood in the urine, may occur with severe cystitis but there are other causes and early, careful medical assessment is always essential.

At one time we thought that infection was confined to a single organ but we now believe that it usually involves other parts of the system. Thus infection is unlikely to be confined to the bladder but may involve the urethra and kidneys: we therefore now call these episodes 'urinary tract infections'. On occasion the infection may reach the kidneys and be severe (pyelonephritis) resulting in severe loin pain and fever. Recurrent episodes of pyelonephritis can lead to renal (kidney) damage.

When urinary tract infection is suspected, a mid-stream sample of urine is usually sent to the laboratory to confirm the diagnosis, determine the type of bacteria and check the sensitivity of the organism to the more common antibiotics. Cystitis usually responds quickly to an appropriate antibiotic.

Women's Health

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Women's Health

The aim of this web site is to provide a general guide and it is not intended as a substitute for a consultation with an appropriate specialist in respect of individual care and treatment.

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