Infections in the urinary system are always scary. When you use the bathroom at least three times a day, every day, it gets scary when you spend this time in pain because of an infection. What’s more, they are relatively easy to acquire, and are often painful. The fact that the urinary system has parts that are still mostly taboo in most modern societies just adds to the already existing stigma of urinary problems.
One of those urinary infections is cystitis, and contrary to what most people think, it doesn’t only affect women. Men are in danger, too.
Medically, cystitis is the inflammation of the urinary bladder, an important part of your urinary system. Together with the kidneys, the ureters, and the urethra, the bladder removes liquid waste from your body. The problem begins when the bladder gets inflamed or irritated.
The inflammation can be due to several things but most of the time, it is due to an infection caused by bacteria. In such cases, cystitis is often called a urinary tract infection (UTI). A bladder infection is very painful and annoying. If the infection spreads to the kidneys, it can even become life-threatening.
Aside from bacteria, cystitis can also occur as a reaction to drugs, radiation therapies, or external irritants like feminine hygiene sprays or spermidical jellies. Catheters can also cause cystitis. Lastly, some other illnesses can result in cystitis. These kinds of cystitis are not infectious, unlike those caused by bacteria.
Not everyone can get cystitis in equal chances; there are some who are more likely to develop it. For example, women are much more likely to develop a urinary infection than men. The reason for this is because of anatomy. Women’s urethras are shorter than men’s, which means that bacteria doesn’t have to travel far to reach the bladder. Another factor is that during sexual intercourse, bacteria can be pushed through to the women’s urethra.
Other common factors that contribute greatly to the risk of getting cystitis include a change in someone’s immune system. Other health issues like diabetes and HIV can severely reduce your immune system, making you that much more vulnerable to a bacterial attack. Prolonged use of bladder catheters also increase your vulnerability to the bacteria.
Signs and Symptoms
If you’re experiencing the following symptoms, then you might have cystitis. It is recommended that you have yourself checked by your doctor for confirmation:
- a persistent urge to urinate;
- a burning sensation while urinating;
- blood in the urine;
- on the times that when you do urinate, it’s with frequent, small amounts;
- pressure in the lower abdomen;
- clody urine that may have a strong smell;
- discomfort in the pelvic area;
- low fever.
Frequent bed-wetting in children might also be a sign of cystitis.
Getting Rid of Cystitis
Getting rid of cystitis depends on the kind of bladder problem you have.
- Treat bacterial cystitis with antibiotics. Antibiotics are the first choice of medication for bacterial cystitis. The kind of antibiotic to be used depends on your health as well as what type of bacteria is causing the problem. Make sure that you tell your doctor what other medications you are taking so he or she will be able to prescribe the best antibiotic for you.If the bacteria is obtained from the hospital, though, antibiotics may not work as effectively. Hospital bacteria are usually more resistant to antibiotics than other bacteria.
- Treat non-infectious cystitis according to their type. If the cystitis is caused by chemicals or personal products, stopping the use of those products may help in easing the symptoms and getting rid of the problem. If your cystitis was caused by radiation treatment or chemotherapy, then the problem should resolve itself after the therapy is finished. In the meantime, just try to manage the pain.
- Drink lots of fluid. Drinking lots of fluid promotes urination which, in turn, helps flush out bacteria and other irritants from your system. However, stay away from caffeine, alcohol, or citrus juices until the infection has cleared. These fluids can irritate your bladder and aggravate the problem instead of alleviating it.
- Use heat compress. A heating pad or compress on your lower abdomen can help minimize or relieve pain and bladder pressure.
- Take a sitz bath. A sitz bath is a warm water treatment. Soaking in one for 15 to 20 minutes may help alleviate pain and discomfort.
It is better to prevent getting bladder infections. That way, you don’t need to spend money on treatment. The following steps will help you in reducing the risk of getting cystitis. Women, especially, will benefit from them.
- Urinate frequently. If you feel the urge to urinate, don’t hold it in. Let loose. Urination is the body’s way of getting rid of waste. Drink plenty of water or fluids to promote urination.
- For women, wipe from the front to the back. The front to back motion prevents bacteria from your anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.
- Gently wash the genital area, especially for females. Regular washing will help reduce the bacteria and microbes in your genital area. However, don’t use harsh soaps or soaps with strong chemicals. They can irritate the delicate skin in your genital area.
- Take showers instead of baths. Bathtubs or pools increase the risk of contamination, especially if you’re sharing them with others. Shower instead.
Bladder infections can be severe. It is always advised that you maintain proper hygiene. Be careful in where you do your private businesses. Prevention is always the best cure.
Click here for more information on how to get rid of cystitis.