Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Urinary tract infection (UTI)

Overview

Cystitis is a medical condition characterised by an inflammation of the bladder. In most cases, cystitis is caused by a bacterial urinary tract infection. Cystitis could also occur when the body’s naturally occurring bacterial ecosystem becomes imbalanced. Cystitis may be triggered by certain medications or personal hygiene products. Long-term use of a catheter for urination could also cause cystitis. The treatment for cystitis usually depends on the underlying cause. Cystitis can occur in anyone but is most common in women.

Signs and symptoms

Cystitis can cause many uncomfortable symptoms including a frequent urge to urinate, burning sensation during urination, blood in the urine, cloudy or smelly urine, pelvic discomfort and low-grade fever. If the patient experiences extreme symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fever, chills and back pain, they should be rushed to the hospital immediately.

Causes

Cystitis is usually caused by a UTI, which is a bacterial infection. However, it could also be caused by certain medications including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, long-term use of urinary catheters and irritating personal hygiene products.

Risk factors

Women are at a higher risk of developing cystitis than men. Pregnant women, women who use diaphragms for birth control and post-menopausal women are at the highest risk of cystitis.

Complications

Cystitis rarely causes serious complications when treated. However, chronic untreated cystitis can cause kidney infections and haematuria (blood in the urine).

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of cystitis begins with a physical exam and a patient medical history. The doctor will also require a urine analysis, a urine culture, a cystoscopy to visualise the bladder and a set of imaging tests including CT scans, ultrasound scans and MRI scans.

Treatment

The treatment of cystitis depends on the exact cause. Bacterial cystitis is treated with antibiotics, fluids and anti-bacterial vaginal creams. For mild cases of cystitis, the patient can ease their symptoms at home with fluids, heating pads and over-the-counter painkillers. Cystitis triggered by certain products can be reversed by avoiding those products.

Prevention

Taking plenty of water, emptying the bladder completely while urinating, wiping from front to back after bowel movements and avoiding deodorant sprays in the genital area are also recommended preventative measures.

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