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Is Cystitis A Urinary Tract Infection

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Other Types Of Cystitis With A Noninfectious Cause Are:

Lower urinary tract infection (cystitis) – an Osmosis preview
  • Interstitial Cystitis: This is a chronic bladder inflammation, also known as painful bladder syndrome. The cause for this is not known. Women are more affected than men. This type of cystitis is difficult to diagnose and treat.
  • Drug-induced Cystitis: Specific medications such as chemotherapy drugs like cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide may cause inflammation of the bladder when the broken-down components of the drugs exit the body.
  • Radiation Cystitis: Radiation to the pelvic region may cause inflammatory changes in bladder tissue resulting in cystitis.
  • Foreign-body Cystitis: Presence of foreign body such as using a catheter for long-term makes an individual more susceptible to bacterial infections and tissue damage.
  • Chemical Cystitis: Sensitivity to chemicals present in certain products, such as feminine hygiene sprays, bubble bath or spermicidal jellies can result in an allergic-type of reaction within the bladder leading to inflammation.
  • Cystitis Associated with other Conditions: Cystitis can also occur as a complication of other disorders, such as pelvic inflammatory disorders, gynecologic cancers, endometriosis, diverticulitis, Crohns disease, tuberculosis or lupus.

What Is The Evidence For Specific Management And Treatment Recommendations

Stamm, WE, Counts, GW, Running, KR. Diagnosis of coliform infection in acutely dysuric women. N Engl J Med. vol. 307. 1982. pp. 463-8. was not appropriate for acutely symptomatic patients. The authors demonstrated that this criterion identified only 51% of women whose bladders contained uropathogens. They also confirmed that in symptomatic patients, especially when the urine is obtained by catheterization, a colony count of greater than or equal to 100 colonies/ml was a much more sensitive predictor of bladder infection.)

Dunlow, S, Duff, P. Prevalence of antibiotic-resistant uropathogens in obstetric patients with acute pyelonephritis. Obstet Gynecol. vol. 76. 1990. pp. 241-4.

Stamm, WE, Hooton, TM. Management of urinary tract infections in adults. N Engl J Med. vol. 329. 1993. pp. 1328-34.

Gupta, K, Scholes, D, Stamm, WE. Increasing prevalence of antimicrobial resistance among uropathogens causing acute uncomplicated cystitis in women. JAMA. vol. 281. 1999. pp. 736-8.

Fihn, SD. Acute uncomplicated urinary tract infection in women. N Engl J Med. vol. 349. 2003. pp. 259-66.

Hooton, TM, Scholes, D, Gupta, K. Amoxicillin-clavulanate vs ciprofloxacin for the treatment of uncomplicated cystitis in women. A randomized trial. JAMA. vol. 293. 2005. pp. 949-55.

Duff, P, Creasy, R, Resnik, R, Iams, J, Lockwood, C, Moore, T. Maternal and fetal infections. 2012.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2015. MMWR. vol. 64. 2015. pp. 1-137.

Urinary Tract Infections And Cystitis Factsheet

UTIs refer to infections of your bladder , the urethra and your kidneys, and they can affect more than half of women at some time in their lives.

What are the signs of a UTI?

When you have a UTI, the lining of your bladder and/or urethra can become inflamed, and your urethra can be very sensitive. Common symptoms include:

  • Discomfort, pain or a stinging/burning sensation when you pass urine
  • Needing to pass urine more frequently or suddenly feeling very desperate to go
  • Needing to pass urine more at night time
  • A constant feeling that you need to pass urine, even when your bladder is almost empty
  • An ache in your lower tummy
  • Cloudy, dark and / or strong-smelling urine, which may contain blood
  • You may experience confusion or heightened brain fog
  • You may have signs of a high temperature or unusually low temperature
  • If the infection spreads to your kidneys you may feel more unwell, with fever, nausea and vomiting. If this happens its important to see your GP.

What causes UTIs?

Sometimes UTIs, like cystitis, can also be triggered after sexual intercourse.

How to treat UTIs when you have one

There are a few self-help measures that can help ease the symptoms of a UTI and reduce the risk of recurrence.

  • When you first notice symptoms, try to drink plenty of water
  • Avoid strong coffee, tea, acidic fruit juices and fizzy drinks, as these can make symptoms worse
  • Take a painkiller such as paracetamol or ibuprofen

How to prevent UTIs from occurring

When to see your GP

Further resources

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What Are Cystitis And Urinary Tract Infections

Your urinary tract is made up of your kidneys, ureters, and bladder. Your body uses this system to rid itself of waste, including bacteria. Your kidneys produce urine, which travels to the bladder for storage before emptying through the urethra.

Normally, your urine does not contain bacteria. When bacteria are introduced to your body through the urethra, they can cause a urinary tract infection that is uncomfortable and potentially harmful to your body.

Cystitis and UTIs have similar causes but affect different parts of the urinary system.

Other Ways To Prevent Cystitis Coming Back


If you keep getting cystitis, there is some evidence you may find it helpful to take:

  • D-mannose a sugar you can buy as a powder or tablets to take every day
  • cranberry products available as juice, tablets or capsules to take every day

Be aware that D-mannose and cranberry products can contain a lot of sugar. If you’re taking warfarin, you should avoid cranberry products.

Page last reviewed: 11 February 2022 Next review due: 11 February 2025

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Causes Of Cystitis And Urinary Tract Infections

Causes of cystitis

Cystitis can affect anyone, but women are at a much higher risk. The most common cause of cystitis is a bacterial infection, but it can also occur if the bladder gets damaged or irritated in another way.

Other causes of cystitis include:

  • Friction from sexual intercourse
  • Irritation from chemicals found in perfumed soap or bubble bath
  • Damage from a catheter or bladder surgery
  • Medical treatments such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy medications

Some people may be at increased risk of cystitis, including people who have diabetes, people nearing menopause, and people with a history of difficulty emptying their bladders.

Causes of urinary tract infections

Other causes include:

Finding The Cause Of Cystitis

It is important for doctors to find the cause of cystitis in several different groups. The cause should be found in

  • Analgesics as needed

  • Sometimes surgery

Cystitis is usually treated with antibiotics. Before prescribing antibiotics, the doctor determines whether the person has a condition that would make cystitis more severe, such as diabetes or a weakened immune system , or more difficult to eliminate, such as a structural abnormality. Such conditions may require more potent antibiotics taken for a longer period of time, particularly because the infection is likely to return as soon as the person stops taking antibiotics. People with such conditions may also have infections caused by fungi or unusual bacteria and may thus require something other than the most commonly used antibiotics.

For women, taking an antibiotic by mouth for 3 days is usually effective if the infection has not led to any complications, although some doctors prefer to give a single dose. For more stubborn infections, an antibiotic is usually taken for 7 to 10 days. For men, cystitis usually is caused by prostatitis, and antibiotic treatment is usually required for weeks.

A variety of drugs can relieve symptoms, especially the frequent, insistent urge to urinate and painful urination. Phenazopyridine may help reduce the pain by soothing the inflamed tissues and can be taken for a couple of days, until antibiotics control the infection.

Read Also: Can A Urinary Tract Infection Heal On Its Own

Causes And Risk Factors Of Cystitis

Cystitis is most commonly caused by E. coli bacteria, but a variety of other organisms cause cystitis .

Causes of noninfectious cystitis include:

  • Interstitial cystitis This chronic bladder inflammation, which is also called painful bladder syndrome, is most commonly diagnosed in women.
  • Drugs Medications, in particular the chemotherapy drugs cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide, can cause cystitis.
  • Radiation Radiation treatment of the pelvic area can cause bladder inflammation.
  • Foreign bodies Prolonged use of a catheter can make you more prone to bacterial infections and tissue damage, both of which can lead to inflammation.
  • Chemicals If youre sensitive to the chemicals in products such as bubble bath, feminine hygiene sprays, or spermicidal jellies, you may experience an allergic-type reaction in your bladder, which can cause inflammation.
  • Other conditions Diabetes, kidney stones, an enlarged prostate, or spinal cord injuries may lead to cystitis.

Treatments For Cystitis And Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary Tract Infection Nursing NCLEX | UTI Symptoms Treatment Cystitis, Pyelonephritis, Urethritis

Your treatment plan will be customized to the severity of your condition and your symptoms. In most cases, your doctor will prescribe an oral antibiotic to kill bacteria and prevent further infection.

You should finish all the antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. Finish them even if you feel better before the end of your treatment. If you do not finish the antibiotics, you may develop an infection that is harder to treat.

If this happens, you may have a short hospital stay for intravenous antibiotics and fluids. In addition to treating the infection itself, your doctor may also treat your symptoms with pain medicine to ease discomfort.

Once your infection is clear, make the necessary lifestyle changes to reduce your chances of a future urinary tract infection.

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Can I Become Immune To The Antibiotics Used To Treat A Uti

Your body can actually get used to the antibiotics typically used to treat a urinary tract infection . This happens in people who have very frequent infections. With each UTI and use of antibiotics to treat it, the infection adapts and becomes harder to fight. This is called an antibiotic-resistant infection. Because of this, your healthcare provider may suggest alternative treatments if you have frequent UTIs. These could include:

  • Waiting: Your provider may suggest that you watch your symptoms and wait. During this time, you may be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids in an effort to flush out your system.
  • Intravenous treatment: In some very complicated cases, where the UTI is resistant to antibiotics or the infection has moved to your kidneys, you may need to be treated in the hospital. The medicine will be given to you directly in your vein . Once youre home, you will be prescribed antibiotics for a period of time to fully get rid of the infection.

Should You See A Doctor

Both UTIs and yeast infections should be reviewed and diagnosed by your doctor to prevent them from getting worse. UTIs that are untreated could lead to a more serious kidney infection. Yeast infections may also be something more serious, or the symptoms may actually be from another condition, such as a sexually transmitted infection.

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Urinary Tract Infections And Interstitial Cystitis

Treatment must be swift as UTIs may cause permanent damage to the urinary tract, chronic infections, kidney disease, and, in men, worsen prostate problems. In men with an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer, urinary tract infections are often a result of the underlying condition.

When infection is located in the bladder it is called cystitis, and urethritis when the urethra is affected. A more serious condition, pyelonephritis or kidney infection, is most often the result of bacteria in the bladder traveling to the kidneys. Pyelonephritis may also be caused by a weakened immune system that allows infections in the blood to affect the kidneys.

Infants, children, and adolescents may also be affected with urinary tract infections 5 percent of teenage girls will develop a UTI. Urinary tract infections are often overlooked in young children with fever.

Urine tests can determine the presence of infection in most individuals, but many, especially women, may have all the symptoms of UTIs with no bacteria present in the urine.

How Are Urinary Tract Infections Diagnosed

Pin on bladder

Your doctor will review your medical history and do a physical exam. Other tests may include:

  • Urinalysis. Lab testing of urine is done to check for various cells and chemicals, such as red and white blood cells, germs , or a lot of protein.

If UTIs become a repeated problem, other tests may be used to see if the urinary tract is normal. These tests may include:

  • Intravenous pyelogram . This is a series of X-rays of the kidney, ureters , and bladder. It uses a contrast dye injected into a vein. This can be used to find tumors, structural abnormalities, kidney stones, or blockages. It also checks blood flow in the kidneys.
  • Cystoscopy. In this test, a thin, flexible tube and viewing device is put in through the urethra to examine the bladder and other parts of the urinary tract. Structural changes or blockages, such as tumors or stones can be found.
  • Kidney and bladder ultrasound. This imaging test uses high-frequency sound waves to make images of the bladder and the kidneys on a computer screen. The test is used to determine the size and shape of the bladder and the kidneys, and check for a mass, kidney stone, cysts, or other blockages or abnormalities.

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How Is A Uti Diagnosed

To diagnose a UTI, your GP will examine you and ask you questions about your general health. Sometimes that might be enough to diagnose a UTI. Your doctor may want you to provide a urine sample to identify what bacteria is causing the infection. Your doctor may also do a blood test and check your temperature and heart rate.

When Should I Call My Doctor About A Bladder Infection

If you experience the symptoms of a bladder infection or urinary tract infection, call your healthcare provider to discuss a treatment plan.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Bladder infections are common urinary tract infections. You might feel pain and burning when you pee, as well as the urge to pee more frequently than you normally do. If you have these inflammatory symptoms, call your healthcare provider. You should start to feel better after a few days of antibiotic treatment, but its important to finish the entire prescription so the infection doesnt return.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/22/2021.


  • US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Bladder Infection in Adults. Accessed 8/20/2021.
  • Merck Manual. Bladder Infection . Accessed 8/20/2021.
  • Li R, Leslie S. Cystitis. StatPearls. July 2021. Accessed 8/20/2021.
  • Lala V, Minter D. Acute Cystitis. StatPearls. June 2021. Accessed 8/20/2021.
  • Douglas-Moore J, Goddard J. Current best practices in the management of cystitis and pelvic pain. Ther Adv Urol. January 2018 10:17-22. Accessed 8/20/2021.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Urinary Tract Infection. Accessed 8/20/2021.
  • American Urological Association, Urology Care Foundation. What is a Urinary Tract Infection in Adults? Accessed 8/20/2021.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Cystitis

The main symptoms of cystitis include:

  • pain, burning or stinging when you pee
  • needing to pee more often and urgently than normal
  • urine that’s dark, cloudy or strong smelling
  • pain low down in your tummy
  • feeling generally unwell, achy, sick and tired

Possible symptoms in young children include a high temperature of 38C or above, weakness, irritability, reduced appetite and vomiting.

Read more about treating cystitis

A Pharmacist Can Help With Cystitis

Antibiotic Awareness: Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), Cystitis or Bladder Infection

You can ask a pharmacist about treatments for cystitis. A pharmacist can:

  • offer advice on things that can help you get better
  • suggest the best painkiller to take
  • tell you if you need to see a GP about your symptoms

Some pharmacies offer a cystitis management service. They may be able to give antibiotics if they’re needed.

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Key Points About Urinary Tract Infections

  • Urinary tract infections are a common health problem that affects millions of people each year. These infections can affect any part of the urinary tract.
  • Most UTIs are caused by E. coli bacteria, which normally live in the colon.
  • The most common symptoms of UTIs include changes in urination such as frequency, pain, or burning urine looks dark, cloudy, or red and smells bad back or side pain nausea/vomiting and fever.
  • Antibiotics are used to treat UTIs. Other treatments may include pain relievers, and drinking plenty of water to help wash bacteria out of the urinary tract.
  • Other things that can be done may help reduce the likelihood of developing UTIs.

Can Urinary Tract Infections Be Prevented

These steps may help reduce the chance of getting UTIs:

  • Drink plenty of water every day.
  • Drink cranberry juice. Large amounts of vitamin C limit the growth of some bacteria by acidifying the urine. Vitamin C supplements have the same effect.
  • Urinate when you feel the need. Do not wait.
  • Take showers instead of tub baths.
  • Clean the genital area before and after sex, and urinate shortly after sex.
  • Women should not use feminine hygiene sprays or scented douches.
  • Cotton underwear and loose fitting clothes help keep the area around the urethra dry. Tight clothes and nylon underwear trap moisture. This can help bacteria grow.
  • Repeated bouts of urinary tract infections can be treated with small doses of regular antibiotics.

Please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns you may have about UTIs.

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How Can Urinary Tract Infections Be Prevented

Some UTIs can be prevented by reducing exposure to stool. This means changing diapers promptly, and in older girls, teaching them to wipe from front to back.

Most young children who have had a UTI should have imaging studies performed to look for urine reflux and to look for any abnormality in the urinary tract. The studies could also identify any scarring that may have occurred.

Depending on the results of these studies, specific medicines or surgery may be needed to prevent further urinary tract infections.

When To See Your Gp

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You should see your GP if you or your child have symptoms of cystitis for the first time.

Cystitis isn’t usually a cause for serious concern, but the symptoms can be similar to several other conditions, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis.

If you’re a woman who has had cystitis before, you don’t necessarily need to see your GP again. Cystitis is very common in women and mild cases often get better on their own. Speak to a pharmacist if you need any advice about treating cystitis.

However, you should see your GP if your symptoms are severe or don’t start to get better in a few days, you get cystitis frequently, or you’re pregnant.

Children and men should always be seen by a GP if they have symptoms of cystitis, as the condition is less common and could be more serious in these groups.

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