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Cystitis - acute bacterial
Alternative namesUncomplicated urinary tract infection; Acute urinary tract infection (UTI); Acute bladder infection
DefinitionCystitis is a bacterial infection of the bladder or lower urinary tract.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Cystitis occurs when the normally sterile lower urinary tract (urethra and bladder) is infected by bacteria and becomes irritated and inflamed. It is very common, occurring in more than 6 million Americans a year.
The condition frequently affects sexually active women ages 20 to 50 but may also occur in those who are not sexually active or in young girls. Older adults are also at high risk for developing cystitis, with the incidence in the elderly being much higher than in younger people.
Cystitis is rare in males. Females are more prone to the development of cystitis because of their relatively shorter urethra -- bacteria do not have to travel as far to enter the bladder -- and because of the relatively short distance between the opening of the urethra and the anus.
More than 85% of cases of cystitis are caused by
, a bacterium found in the lower gastrointestinal tract. Sexual intercourse can increase the risk of cystitis because bacteria can be introduced into the bladder through the urethra during sexual activity. Once bacteria enter the bladder, they normally are removed through urination. When bacteria multiply faster than they are removed by urination, infection results.
Signs and tests
Because of the risk of the infection spreading to the kidneys ( complicated UTI ) and due to the high complication rate in the elderly population and in diabetics, prompt treatment is almost recommended.
Another medication called pyridium may be used to reduce the burning and urgency associated with cystitis. In addition, common substances that increase acid in the urine, such as ascorbic acid or cranberry juice, may be recommended to decrease the concentration of bacteria in the urine.
Follow-up may include urine cultures to ensure that bacteria are no longer present in the bladder.
Expectations (prognosis)Most cases of cystitis are uncomfortable but disappear without complication after treatment.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of cystitis .
Call your health care provider if you have cystitis and symptoms worsen or new symptoms develop, especially fever , back or flank pain , or vomiting .
Keeping the genital area clean and remembering to wipe from front to back may reduce the chance of introducing bacteria from the rectal area to the urethra.
Increasing the intake of fluids (64 to 128 ounces per day) encourages frequent urination that flushes bacteria from the bladder. Drinking cranberry juice prevents certain types of bacteria from attaching to the wall of the bladder and may lessen the chance of infection.
Update Date: 7/31/2002Christopher Parsons, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT