Managing Your Cystitis

Managing Your Cystitis

Managing Your Cystitis_Image_1

What Is Cystitis?

Cystitis is a condition in which the bladder becomes inflamed (red and swollen). The top of the urethra (the tube that takes urine from the bladder to outside the body) also becomes inflamed. It’s much more common in women, but men can also have it. Sometimes, cystitis can become chronic (occur over and over) and become hard to treat.

What Causes Cystitis?

The cause is most often an infection, usually with bacteria (named Escherichia coli). Other causes are friction during sex, wearing tight underwear, drugs, foreign bodies such as catheters, and irritants such as feminine hygiene spray and spermicidal jelly. Cystitis can be a complication of another illness, and pregnant women can have greater chances of having cystitis.

What Are the Symptoms of Cystitis?

Common symptoms include pain or burning when urinating, pain or pressure in the lower abdomen (belly), cloudy or fishy-smelling urine, blood in the urine, frequent and urgent need to urinate, and low-grade fever.

How Is Cystitis Diagnosed?

The doctor will take a sample of urine and send it to a laboratory to check for infection.
If infections occur often, the doctor may want a sonogram of the bladder and kidneys and may suggest seeing a urologist (doctor specializing in urinary disorders). The urologist may do more tests, such as cystoscopy. In cystoscopy, a small Managing Your Cystitis_Image_2flexible tube is put into the urethra and then the bladder. The tube has a camera so the doctor can see inside the urethra and bladder.

How Is Cystitis Treated?

Antibiotic medicine, usually as pills, will be prescribed to stop a bacterial infection. The pills are taken for 3 to 10 days. The doctor may want to do another examination after 1 to 2 weeks, or earlier, to make sure that the infection is gone. If infections occur often, medicine may be needed for up to 6 months.

Causes other than infections need other treatments, including avoiding certain products, such as bubble bath and spermicides, nerve stimulation, and other drugs.

DOs and DON’Ts in Managing Cystitis:

  • DO take your medicine exactly as prescribed.
  • DO drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
  • DO empty your bladder completely when urinating.
  • DO urinate right after having sex.
  • DO wear cotton clothing. Women should wear cotton pantyhose. Avoid tight-fitting undergarments and clothing.
  • DO keep your genital area clean. Take showers instead of tub baths.
  • DO avoid perfumed or deodorant products in the genital area.
  • DO keep other medical conditions under control. For example, if you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar under control.
  • DO call your doctor if you develop a fever or if symptoms continue even with antibiotics.
  • DO wipe from front to back after a bowel movement.
  • DON’T wear tight-fitting undergarments and clothing.
  • DON’T ignore symptoms. Untreated infection can spread to the kidneys and cause serious illness.

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