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Cystitis in Women – a common disease of urinary bladder.

Urine is produced by each of your two kidneys. It drains into your bladder through tubes called ureters. When you pass urine, your bladder contracts, squeezing urine out of your body through a tube called the urethra.
Cystitis is inflammation of your bladder due to an infection or irritation. Usually cystitis only affects your bladder and is known as a lower urinary tract infection (UTI). If the infection goes higher, to your ureters or kidneys, this can be a more serious illness known as an upper urinary tract infection.

Symptoms of Cystitis

– A burning, stinging or aching pain when you pass urine.
– A need to pass water very frequently, often only a small amount each time.
– Bloody or cloudy urine (severe cystitis).
– Pain or tenderness in your lower back or lower abdomen (tummy).
These symptoms can also be due to a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as chlamydia. If you think you may have an STI, visit your GP or a sexual health clinic.

Causes of Cystitis

– When women insert a tampon there is a slight risk of bacteria entering via the urethra.
– When a urinary catheter is changed there may be damage to the area.
– There is a higher incidence of cystitis among women who use the diaphragm for contraception, compared to sexually active women who don’t.
– The patient does not empty his/her bladder completely, creating an environment for bacteria to multiply in the bladder. This is fairly common among pregnant women, and also men whose prostates are enlarged.
– Sexually active women have a higher risk of bacteria entering via the urethra.
– Part of the urinary system may be blocked.
– Other bladder or kidney problems.
– Frequent and/or vigorous sex increases the chances of physical damage or bruising, which in turn makes the likelihood of cystitis developing higher.
– During the menopause women produce less mucus in the vaginal area. This mucus stops the bacteria from multiplying.
– During the menopause the lining of a woman’s urethra gets thinner as her levels of estrogen drop. The thinner the lining becomes, the higher the chances are of infection and damage.
– A woman’s urethra opening is much nearer the anus than a man’s.

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