What is Cystitis?

Cystitis is the medical name given to an inflammation of the bladder that affects up to 40% of women. The feeling that you need to urinate more often and suffering from uncomfortable or even painful urination are two of the main symptoms1 that indicate you may be suffering from cystitis.

Normally when you urinate it should not be painful, and your urine should be the colour of straw. The amount of urine you produce varies according to what you've been eating or drinking, but in mild climates such as the UK it's quite normal to produce anything between 800mls and 2.5 litres a day.

Cystitis is usually caused by a bacterial infection, but it could be also the result of damage or irritation to your bladder (non-infectious cystitis). There are many causes of inflammation, so if you suffer frequently from cystitis, keeping a diary and recording when you get cystitis may help you to determine what triggers it for you.

Causes of a bladder infection (bacterial cystitis):

  • Not emptying your bladder fully when you urinate
  • Pressure on your bladder due to pregnancy
  • Using a diaphragm
  • Wiping the wrong way after going to the toilet (you should wipe front to back)

Causes of irritation or damage in your bladder (non-bacterial cystitis):

  • Hormone changes e.g. menopause
  • Nicotine
  • Dehydration
  • Vigorous sex
  • Chemicals and perfume in soaps
  • Diabetes
  • Wearing a catheter

Thirsty?

The European Food Safety Authority recommends that women should drink about 1.6 litres of fluid per day.

1 Salvatore 2011

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