Cystitis refers to the inflammation of bladder which is caused due to bladder infection. In India more than 10 million cases of cystitis are reported every year. It is more prevalent in women when compared to men as their urethra is shorter and closer to anus. Factors such as enlarged prostate, kidney stones, depressed immune system, prolonged use of catheters, use of diaphragms for contraception, menopause, and pregnancy increase your susceptibility to develop cystitis.
The symptoms associated with cystitis are as follows:
- Increase in the frequency of an urgency to urinate
- Blood traces in the urine
- Pain or burning sensation when urinating
- Dark, cloudy, or strong-smelling urine
- Pain in the lower back or in the abdomen
Your doctor would first perform a pelvic examination to examine the pelvic organs. He would then prescribe the following tests to find out the cause of cystitis
- Pelvic exam: The pelvic region is examined to confirm if the patient has infections, inflammation, pain and tenderness in pelvic organs.
- Urinalysis: This test includes urine dipstick test and microscopic exam of the urine sample. In dipstick test, a stick with strip of chemicals is dipped in urine to assess urine pH, specific gravity, protein, glucose, blood, nitrites etc. In microscopic exam, number of WBC, RBC and presence of bacteria and yeast in urine is determined. Presence of bacteria, white blood cells, red blood cells and pus cells in urine may indicate cystitis.
- Urine culture: It is done to find out the specific organism that has caused the infection. This helps to plan better treatment of the patient. Urine sample is cultured in a nutrient media that promotes growth of bacteria. A positive urine culture has 10^5 CFU/ml. CFU stands for colony forming units.
- Cystoscopy: If infection is not identified in urine then cystoscopy is done Cystoscope is a hollow tube with a light which is inserted through the urethra. This is useful in detecting hemorrhages and ulcers in bladder wall and also to extract a tissue sample from the bladder for biopsy.
- Biopsy: In biopsy, tissue from bladder wall are taken and studied. This is usually done to rule out bladder cancer.
- Imaging technique: Imaging is done when no evidence of infection is seen. It helps the physician to assess structural abnormalities in the bladder. Images are obtained by using an x-ray or an ultrasound. Ultrasound uses sound waves to form an image.
You can take certain measures at home to relieve symptoms of cystitis. These include:
- Drink plenty of water- This would help to flush out the germs and dilute your urine.
- Do not take drinks that may irritate your bladder- Drinks such as coffee, soft drinks and alcohol tend to irritate your bladder and increase the urge and frequency to urinate. Thus, avoid such drinks till the infection is cleared.
- Use a warm heating pad: You can keep a warm heat pad on your abdomen to relieve bladder discomfort.
- Drink Cranberry juice: Some researchers say that cranberry has infection-fighting properties. However, the related researches are inconclusive.
Depending on the cause of infection, specific anti- microbial drugs would be useful to control infection in cystitis. Surgeries can be performed to rectify structural defects. Painkillers, anti-histamines, tricyclic antidepressants, are used to reduce the discomfort and pain associated with cystitis.
The following measures help to prevent cystitis
- Practicing good hygiene after sex
- Maintaining uro-genital hygiene by using neutral and non-perfumed soaps
- Emptying the bladder completely during urination
- Avoid postponing urination
- Avoiding wearing tight underwear
- Wearing cotton underwear
- Using lubricants during sex
- Drinking sufficient water
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- Cystitis: Symptoms, causes, and treatments. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/152997.php. Accessed on 26-Oct-2017
- https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cystitis/basics/tests-diagnosis/con-20024076. Accessed on 26-Oct-2017.
- http://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/cystitis.htm. Accessed on 26-Oct-2017.
- Cystitis Acute. http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/cystitis-acute-bacterial/overview.html. Accessed on 26-Oct-2017
- https://www.mayoclinic.org/testsprocedures/urinalysis/details/results/rsc-20255397. Accessed on 26-Oct-2017