Cystitis is an infection of the bladder, but the term is often used to describe a range of infections and irritations in the lower urinary system. It causes burning sensations during urination and a frequent need to urinate.
The most common cause of cystitis is a bacterial infection. In general women are at much greater risk of developing cystitis because the female urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside) is much shorter than in males. This makes it easier for bacteria to get into the bladder.
Inadequate emptying of bladder resulting in stagnation of urine – This may be caused by some drugs (for example, antidepressants), immobility, abnormal bladder control, a congenital abnormality and constipation. Even the small drop which is always left behind may contain bacteria.
Toilet hygiene – The female urethra is shorter than males and is situated relatively close to their anus. Wiping front to back, towards the anus – not the other way around helps to avoid leading bacteria from the bowel to the urethra.
Men with an enlarged prostate – An enlarged prostate (male sex gland) prevents the bladder from emptying completely.
Postmenopausal hormone changes women – A consequence of this is that the urinary system is more easily irritated by cystitis
Diabetes – High blood sugar levels cause excess sugar to be excreted in the urine. Sweet urine is an ideal breeding place for bacteria.
Irritation by toiletries or deodorants in the genital area
Increased frequency of sexual intercourse
The clinical symptoms of cystitis include:
- Burning sensations or pain during urination
- Frequent urination
- Cloudy and foul-smelling urine.
- Pain directly above the pubic bone
- Occasional blood in the urine
- Young children often have less defined symptoms, such as weakness, irritability, reduced appetite and vomiting.
- Older women may also have no symptoms other than weakness, falls, confusion or fever.
Nutrition for cystitis
If you suffer from cystitis regularly, why not consider a nutrition consultation to get advice on the best ways to support your body and prevent further infections. There are certain foods and supplements that can help to make the bladder a less hospitable place for bacteria and A Smart Nutrition Consultation would also be able to assist you in dealing with some of the underlying causes of cystitis such as constipation, prostate problems, diabetes, and menopausal hormone changes.