What is cystitis?
Cystitis is the inflammation and irritation of the bladder. It is a very common infection for women fortunately for men it is rarer. It can also be known as the honeymoon disease, or a UTI (urinary tract infection).
The organs which are involved with producing and excreting urine consist of your kidneys, which filter the waste (urine) from the blood, tubes which then carry the urine from your kidneys to the bladder. This is where the urine is stored you will know when you need to excrete the urine when your bladder feels full. The urine leaves the body via the urethra this in men is much longer than in women which is why women tend to get cystitis. The bacteria usually caused by E.Coli (Escherichia coli) which is found around the anus and genital area, can travel up the urethra and begin to multiply. Normally urine is sterile and does not have any harmful bacteria in it; once the bacteria have invaded the bladder it multiplies quickly causing all the symptoms of bacterial cystitis.
Occasionally other factors can imitate the irritation of cystitis Thrush can cause mild pain when passing urine. Bubble baths, douching, highly perfumed soaps and deodorants may all cause irritation and inflammation.
Bacterial cystitis is caused by bacteria usually E.coli travelling up the urethra (the tube through which urine passes out of the body) it multiplies in the bladder rapidly causing a variety of symptoms. When treated quickly and effectively the discomfort and duration of the problem can be reduced, and does not reoccur.
This is usually bacterial cystitis which has returned repeatedly, however it is difficult to say with any certainty how many episodes have to be suffered in a given time period before it is called recurrent as the doctors seem to contradict each other. Some say three episodes in 12 months others it needs to be six episodes. It is important to ask your doctor to send a specimen of urine to the laboratory for analyse to make sure you are taking the right antibiotics if you are suffering from repeated infections. Results will be in approximately 2-5 days.
Interstitial cystitis on the other hand is not caused by bacteria and when samples are sent for analysis there is no evidence of bacterial contaminants. There are thousands of people in the U.K. who suffer from this with nearly 90% of them being women. This is a chronic (constant) condition whereby the bladder wall is inflamed and irritated, causing frequency, urgency and pain. The bladder wall may become scarred and inflexible meaning only small quantities of urine are stored.
This condition can become very debilitating as the person often feels a prisoner in their own home as trips out are dictated by where the toilets are located. The condition often means repeated trips to the toilet in the middle of the night causing pain and can be severely exhausting.