Senior’s Health

Cystitis- Causes, symptoms, and treatments

Cystitis is referred to as the inflammation of the bladder in which it becomes red and swollen. In most of the cases, the cause of cystitis is a urinary tract infection (UTI), which occurs when the bacteria enter the urethra and the bladder and begin to multiply. However, it might be the result of some medications and chemical products present in hygiene products. Most cases of cystitis are acute (occurring suddenly). Intestinal cystitis can be chronic and long-term. This inflammatory disease mostly occurs in women; however, it can affect anyone.

Different causes lead to different types of cystitis. Apart from the common causes mentioned above, following are some other causes of cystitis:

  • Exposure to radiation while undergoing radiotherapy sessions can result in cystitis as a side effect.
  • A patient who has undergone a urethral surgery and as a result is using a catheter to pass urine also stands at a risk of getting infected from cystitis.

As discussed above, cystitis can either be acute or chronic. Intestinal cystitis (IC) is a long-term case which affects the multiple layers of the bladder tissue. Here two main types of cystitis:

  • Bacterial cystitis– It occurs when the bacteria enter the urethra or bladder which results in unbalanced and uncontrolled bacterial growth leading to the inflammation of the bladder.
  • Cystitis associated with other condition– The bladder inflammation sometimes occurs due to symptoms of other medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney stones, HIV, enlarged prostate, and spinal injuries.

Following are some common symptoms of cystitis based on its causes and types:

  • Strong-smelling and cloudy urine
  • Low-grade fever with urinary tract infection
  • Sensations of a full bladder
  • Abdominal and back cramps
  • Traces of blood in urine
  • Frequent urge to urinate

If cystitis spreads to the kidneys it can cause serious health issues and lead to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, back or side pain, and chills.

The extent of the cystitis infection is diagnosed using the following procedures:

  • Cystoscopy– In this procedure, the doctor inspects the bladder with a thin tube which has a camera and a tracking light attached on its tip. Doctors use this to collect the biopsy of the bladder.
  • Imaging tests– Often not required in acute cases of cystitis, imaging tests such as ultrasound can be helpful to diagnose chronic cases of cystitis. They can also be used to rule out other possible causes of infection.

Based on the symptoms and its diagnosis, cystitis can be treated using the following four options:

  • Medications– Antibiotics are the most common form of medications to treat intestinal cystitis and bacterial cystitis. Also, acute cystitis can be easily treated with antibiotics.
  • Surgery– A surgery is an option for some chronic cases of cystitis; however, they may not be the doctor’s first choice. This procedure is usually used to repair a structural issue that might be causing the infection.
  • Home care– Using certain home remedies such as heating pads, sitz bath, and over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers can help in easing the discomfort. Other home remedies such as drinking cranberry juice, wearing cotton underwear, and avoiding spicy food can also help in easing the symptoms of cystitis.
  • Alternative therapies– Other therapies such as nerve stimulation can relieve pelvic pain due to cystitis. Other than that, exercises such as stretching the bladder can also help to temporarily relieve the symptoms.