Urinary Tract Infections

What is Cystitis?

Cystitis is a fairly common lower urinary tract infection, which affects people of both sexes and all ages, although it is more common among females than males.

Cystitis affects more than half of the women in the UK at some time in their lives and many suffer repeated attacks.

Approximately 80% of all urinary tract infections are caused by the bacteria Escherichia coli.

The infection irritates the lining of the urethra and bladder lining, making the bladder and urethra very sensitive.

The usual symptoms are one or more of the following:

A feeling of discomfort when passing urine which usually gives a stinging or burning pain

A constant feeling of the need to pass urine although there is hardly any urine in the bladder

A dragging ache in the lower abdomen

A dark or “strong” urine which may contain visible blood.

What causes Cystitis?

The commonest cause is bacteria entering the bladder through the urethra.

The bacteria Escherichia coli is found in large quantities in the bowel where it does no harm but it can be introduced into the bladder through the urethra , adhering to the bladder wall and causing infection.

Urine normally contains no bacteria but, if it does get into the bladder it can cause cystitis.

Cystitis can also be caught from a sexual partner who has an infection but the usual cause in sexually active women is friction on the opening of the urethra during intercourse. This is sometimes known as “honeymoon cystitis”.

For more information on cystitis:
NHS website on Prevention of Cystitis:

The Cystitis & Overactive Bladder Foundation

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