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Bladder Infection (Cystitis) Overview

Introduction

Bladder infection is also called cystitis and is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI). The urinary tract is naturally sterile and when microbes invade it, an infection may result.
It's a common type of urinary tract infection (UTI), particularly in women, and is usually more of a nuisance than a cause for serious concern. Mild cases will often get better by themselves within a few days.
However, some people experience episodes of cystitis frequently and may need regular or long-term treatment.
Signs and symptoms

The main symptoms of cystitis include:
·         Dysuria (painful urination)
·         Urinary frequency
·         Urinary urgency (urge to urinate)
·         Hesitancy to void urine
·         Bladder pain (pain around the pelvic area)
·         Incomplete voiding of urine
·         Urinary incontinence (involuntary loss of urine)
Causes

Urine is normally sterile. Presence of bacteria in the urine may lead to bladder infection and other forms of urinary tract infection. The most common way bacteria gain access to the urinary system from outside is through the urethra.
It's not always clear how this happens, but it can be caused by:
·         Having sex
·         Wiping your bottom after going to the toilet – particularly if you wipe from back to front
·         Inserting a tampon or urinary catheter (a thin tube inserted into the urethra to drain the bladder)
·         Using a diaphragm for contraception

Risk factors

Risks of bladder infection include:
·         Being a woman
·         Sexual activity
·         Pregnancy
·         Menopause in women
·         Interference with the flow of urine
·         Changes in the immune system
·         Prolonged use of bladder catheters

Diagnosis

After taking medical history and physical examination your doctor may recommend the tests like
·         Urine analysis
·         Blood tests
·         Imaging test (X-RAY, Ultrasound, CT Scan, MRI)
·         Cystoscopy

Treatment

You'll usually be prescribed antibiotics to treat the infection. These should start to have an effect within a day or two.
If you've had cystitis before and don't feel you need to see your GP, you may want to treat your symptoms at home.
Until you're feeling better, it may help to:
·         Take paracetamol or ibuprofen
·         Drink plenty of water
·         hold a hot water bottle on your tummy or between your thighs
·         Avoid having sex
Prevention

To prevent the bladder infection, you should:
·         Drink plenty of liquids, especially water.
·         Urinate frequently.
·         Wipe from front to back after a bowel movement.
·         Take showers rather than tub baths.
·         Gently wash the skin around the vagina and anus.
·         Empty your bladder as soon as possible after intercourse.

Prognosis

Overall prognosis for bladder infection is very good. This is a condition which can be completely cured when appropriately diagnosed and treated.

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