What is cystitis and what causes UTIs?

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What is cystitis and what causes UTIs?

What is cystitis and what causes UTIs?

UTI is a common problem in females

All too many women recognize the signals of urinary tract infection or UTI.

 Pain and burning during passing urine, and increased frequency of urination. It may be a recurrent problem causing recurrent cystitis.

What is cystitis and what causes UTIs?

When there is an infection in the bladder it’s called cystitis. Cystitis is extremely common among women, partly because female anatomy increases the risk of infection due to the proximity of the urethra to the anus. Additional risk factors for cystitis include sexual intercourse, diaphragm use, spermicides, and spermicide-coated condoms, and a prior history of cystitis. Women with diabetes and those who have abnormalities of the urinary tract are also at increased risk for cystitis.

The vast majority of infections (up to 95%) are caused by one bacteria, E. coli. Signs and symptoms of an infection include pain with urination, increased frequency of urination, and an increased urge to urinate.

What is the treatment?

Cystitis is treated with antibiotics for three to five days, depending on the antibiotic used.

Can UTIs be prevented?

. To decrease the risk for cystitis, women are advised to urinate after intercourse, drink cranberry juice, drink more fluids in general, and keep the perineal area that lies between the urethra and the anus clean.

Does drinking extra fluid help?

The Institute of Medicine in the USA recommends that women have 2.2 liters daily, which is about 9 cups. Not all of this needs to come just from water — or even fluids. Fruits and vegetables, which are part of a healthy diet, contain a lot of water.

If you’re a woman with symptoms of cystitis, such as pain or burning with urination, increased urgency and frequency, try to drink more fluids, but also call your health care team for evaluation. A simple urine test in conjunction with the symptoms you describe may provide enough information for your health care provider to confirm an infection and start you on a brief course of antibiotics.

Better still, going forward, you may be able to decrease the chance that you will develop an infection by drinking more water daily.

Dr. Rakesh Rai, MS, FRCS.