Cystitis is the acute inflammation of the urinary bladder, with or without infection, urine contamination is caused by the invasion of microorganisms in the urinary tract, and this can occur in two different ways: through the lower end of the urinary tract which is the most frequent case; or through the bloodstream, in which case the infection directly affects the kidneys.

Cystitis is usually a disease of simple treatment, however, it can be painful and uncomfortable. The cystitis can become a serious health problem if the bacteria spread to the kidneys, which we called pyelonephritis , while cystitis is a simple disease, pyelonephritis can lead to sepsis and consequently to death by generalized infection. While men, in general, hardly have UTIs at the extremes of age such as young children and the elderly, women spend their entire lives at risk of infection.

Different types of cystitis

The most common urinary tract infections are those caused by bacteria, although they can also occur due to viruses, fungi or parasites, many of which are responsible for the bacteria called Escherichia coli , which normally lives in the intestine.

The most common cause of cystitis is infection by gram negative bacteria, for a germ to produce cystitis it must first colonize the urine of the bladder, this form of cystitis is called acute bacterial cystitis and affects mainly women of childbearing age or elderly of both sexes.

Other forms of cystitis are tuberculous cystitis , produced in the context of a tuberculosis infection of the urinary system ; chemical cystitis, caused by direct toxic effects of some substances on the bladder mucosa; the cystitis radica, a chronic sequela of treatments with radiotherapy on the pelvis; glandular cystitis, an epithelial metaplasia with premalignant potential; and interstitial cystitis, which is a chronic functional disease with pelvic pain, urgency, and frequency of urination.

Most people think that cystitis arises when bacteria normally found in the stool colonize the vaginal region, cystitis would therefore be a disease of people who do not wash well. This reasoning is wrong.

The vagina of women has its own flora of bacteria, which are harmless, for a bacteria from the anus to colonize that region, it needs to compete with those that already live in that region. But when excessive intimate hygiene is done, we kill the natural flora of the vagina, greatly facilitating the colonization process of germs that are yet to arrive. Having cystitis does not mean having bad hygiene habits . In reality, both extremes are conducive to urinary infection.

How to prevent cystitis

Knowing how bladder infections arise, we can follow some suggestions to avoid them:

  • Intimate hygiene in moderation. Those who use toilet paper should always clean from front to back, that is, in the opposite direction to the vagina.
  • Never douche, this procedure pushes the bacteria towards the bladder and favors the appearance of cystitis.
  • It is preferable to use the showers, avoid taking baths in bathtubs.
  • Avoid any cleaning product that can irritate the vagina.
  • Always urinate after sexual intercourse, intercourse favors the entry of bacteria into the urethra and the act of urinating helps to expel them.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to urinate frequently.

Women in menopause should use estrogen-based vaginal creams to reduce the dryness of the vaginal mucosa, since it favors the appearance of lesions, which in turn promote the fixation of bacteria.

How to treat cystitis

The most frequent symptoms are:

  • Increase in the frequency of urination, a constant urge to go to the bathroom is experienced even at night.
  • Intense pain in the region over the bladder.
  • burning and difficulty, complicated by pain, when urinating and even afterwards.
  • Fever above 37 ° C.
  • It can also present cloudy urine accompanied, it is usually also accompanied by a bad smell.
  • In children under five years of age, symptoms often take more vague forms such as general weakness, irritability, poor appetite, or vomiting.
  • In older people, symptoms can be complicated by weakness, confusion, or fever.

Generally, a urine sample is used in which white blood cells, red blood cells, bacteria and certain chemical elements such as nitrites are traced.

Treatment for urinary infections is complex and may not give immediate results. For this reason, it can include from the prescription of different types of drugs to planning changes in the diet, other complementary measures are physical therapy to work on strengthening the bladder and moderate physical activity.

In the case of a simple infection, it is usually recommended to take antibiotics administered orally to prevent the infection from spreading to the kidney area. Treatment usually lasts 3 days for women and 7 to 14 days for men. In case of complications, antibiotics should be taken for at least a week. The action of the medications must be complemented by the abundant intake of water.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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