Cystitis in women
What is cystitis?
Cystitis is inflammation of the bladder. There are two main types.
- lack of a substance called glycosaminoglycan, which is part of the slimy layer that covers and protects the lining of the bladder
- activity of special types of cells (called mast cells) commonly found in the bladder wall of people with bladder pain syndrome. These cells respond to allergy by releasing chemicals such as histamine, which cause swelling and pain.
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).
- blood (or a smoky appearance) in the urine
- backache or stomach ache
- fever and weakness.
What else could I have?
Not all urine problems are cystitis. For example:
- if you have soreness or itching around the opening of the urethra (pee hole) you might have a herpes infection, yeast infection or a chlamydia infection
- if your only problem is having to pass urine frequently, you might have diabetes (especially if you are thirsty all the time), so see your doctor
- if your main problem is having to rush to the toilet, you may have a continence problem.
Written by: Diane Newman
Edited by: embarrassingproblems.com
Last updated: Wednesday, October 15th 2014
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Cystitis in women
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- Cystitis in women: what your doctor can do
- Cystitis in women: preventing further attacks
- Cystitis in men
- Genital infections
- Menopause - a guide to symptoms
- Smooth riding the menopause
- Doc Spot - Chlamydia screening
- Doc Spot - Sexually transmitted infection
- Doc Spot - Strange urine
- Dr Phil - Chlamydia (video)
- Dr Phil - Genital infections
Every year, 1–3 women out of 10 have an attack of cystitis
At any time, about 1 in 20 healthy women has bacteria in her bladder, without any symptoms. Only 10% of these progress to cystitis symptoms
In the USA, over 11 million women each year receive antibiotics for cystitis, costing over $1.6 billion (£1100 million)
In the UK, doctors write 5.5 million prescriptions for cystitis each year