Cystitis is an infection of the bladder, but the term is often used indiscriminately and covers a range of infections and irritations in the lower urinary system. It causes burning sensations during urination and a frequent need to urinate.
Symptoms of cystitis include:
* Burning sensations or pain during urination.
* Frequent urination.
* Cloudy and foul-smelling urine.
* Pain directly above the pubic bone.
* Children under five years of age often have less concrete symptoms, such as weakness, irritability, reduced appetite and vomiting.
* Older women may also have no symptoms other than weakness, falls, confusion or fever.
Cystitis is more common in:
People with a congenital deformity in the urinary system.
Men with an enlarged prostate.
People using a catheter.
Infection from intestinal bacteria is by far the most frequent cause of cystitis, especially among women, who have a very short urethra (the tube through which the urine passes from the bladder to the outside). Normally, urine is sterile (there are no micro-organisms such as bacteria present). Between 20 to 40 per cent of women will get cystitis in their lifetime.
'Honeymoon' cystitis refers to cystitis in women related to increased frequency of sexual activity.
Urine dipstick test followed by a urine culture.
In the case of repeated, inexplicable, infections of the urinary system, a referral should be made to a hospital for tests such as ultrasound scanning or X-rays of the urinary system and cystoscopy (telescopic examination of the bladder).
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