What is Bladder Cystitis

Home / Bladder Medically Reviewed by Edith Anderson, RN

Bladder cystitis, also known as a bladder infection, occurs when the bladder becomes infected because of a virus or bacteria. It a common medical condition that affects people of all genders and ages, but is more prevalent in female patients. Women often suffer from bladder cystitis because their short urethras make it easier for microorganisms to enter the bladder. Since the urethra is a warm, moist environment, bacteria easily breed there.
If bladder infections are not treated, they can worsen, causing both fever and chills. This infection can lead to more serious problems as well. The most common type of bacteria that is linked to bladder cystitis is called Escherichia coli.

This type of bacteria is located in the intestines and rectum. When this particular type of bacteria leaves these areas and travels to the bladder, an infection occurs. Many women contract bladder cystitis after sexual activity, while others become infected because of wiping incorrectly after a bowel movement.
Symptoms of bladder cystitis usually include a frequent, desperate need to urinate and a burning sensation while urinating. Other symptoms are pelvic pressure, lower back pain, abdominal pain, cloudy or bloody urine, a slight fever, and chills. Vaginal infections and sexually transmitted diseases can mimic the symptoms of a bladder infection, so it's important to be checked by a physician if experiencing these problems.

If the doctor diagnoses the patient with bladder cystitis, he or she will usually prescribe an antibiotic to treat the infection. Most women can take a single dose or a three-day dosage in order to alleviate bladder cystitis. Men who have a bladder infection will often require a longer period of antibiotic treatment, usually involving seven to ten days of antibiotics. Children will usually take the medicine for about ten days.

Not everyone will benefit from single doses of antibiotics. For example, patients who are diabetic, pregnant, or elderly should not be given single-dose antibiotics since they often suffer from an upper urinary infection as well. In these special cases, patients should be given antibiotics for ten to 14 days.
People can prevent bladder infections by wearing cotton underwear. Cotton underwear permits air to circulate, thereby avoiding the warm, moist environment in which bacteria love to breed. Women should practice good hygiene, keeping the vaginal area clean by wiping from front to back after a bowel movement.

When menstruating, women should try to wear tampons instead of sanitary napkins since sanitary napkins can harbor fecal bacteria. It's also important that people avoid tight-fitting clothing or wearing a wet swimsuit for a lengthy amount of time. Women should urinate before and after intercourse, making sure that the partner's hands and genitals are clean. It's also useful to drink pure cranberry juice, as this type of juice fights bladder infections.