Cystitis and UTIs
Is Cystitis the same as a urinary tract Infection (UTI)?
Not quite! A UTI is a general umbrella term used to describe an infection anywhere in the urinary tract. The urinary tract is made up of the kidneys, bladder, ureters and the urethra.
The bladder, and urethra are part of the ‘lower’ urinary tract system. The kidneys and ureters are part of the ‘upper’ urinary tract system.
Cystitis is inflammation of the bladder, commonly caused by an infection.
Symptoms of cystitis include:
- Pain whilst passing urine
- Pain or discomfort in the bladder area
- Passing urine more often
- Passing small amounts of urine
- Consistent urge to pass urine
- Feeling of incomplete emptying of bladder
- Cloudy urine
- Offensive smelling urine
- Mild fever
- Traces of blood in urine
Pyelonephritis is inflammation of the kidneys commonly caused by an infection. It is often referred to as a ‘kidney infection’.
Symptoms of a kidney infection include:
- One-sided pain in the back (the space between your lowest rib and the top of your hip bone, also called the ‘loin’)
- Nausea or Vomiting
- Shivery or shaky or chills
- You may also have symptoms of cystitis at the same time
Speak to a doctor if you or someone you care for have symptoms of a kidney infection.
Treating a urine infection
If you have symptoms of cystitis, try the following measures for the first 2-3 days. You may not need antibiotics!
- Drink plenty of water to help flush away the infection, ideally 6-7 glasses a day
- Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol
Speak to a doctor if you or someone you care for:
- Has symptoms that fail to improve after 72hrs
- Notice blood in the urine
- Have symptoms of a kidney infection
The ‘bothersome bladder’
Some women are more prone to getting urine infections. It can be more common if you have regular sex, have gone through the menopause, or taking medication that suppresses your immune system. We do advise that you speak to your doctor if you have had 3 or more urine infections in the last 12 months or 2 or more urine infections in the last 6 months.
If you are prone to getting urine infections, taking the following steps may help:
- Drink plenty of water, 5-6 glasses a day
- PASS URINE IMMEDIATELY AFTER SEX
- Wipe front-to-back after using the toilet
- Avoid tight-fitting underwear
- Avoid washing or spraying the vagina (douching)
- Speak to your doctor about a trial of treatment with:
- Local oestrogen if you have been through the menopause
- An anti-infective agent called, Methenamine Hippurate (or ‘hiprex’) can be used in combination with vitamin C
- Low dose of an antibiotic taken daily for 3 to 6 months
- Low dose of an antibiotic taken immediately after the aggravating event, for example, sex
- D-mannose taken daily for 3 to 6 months
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A holistic approach’ to women’s health
National Institute for Clinical Excellence: Urinary tract infections in adults; Quality standard [QS90] Published: 11 June 2015
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