Ryan is an experienced health writer helping educate and inform people on all types of important health topics. He lives in Salt Lake City, UT and can be found recreating in the local mountains.
Dr. Aaron Wiegmann
Dr. Wiegmann earned his medical degree (M.D.) from Rush Medical College and completed his General Surgery residency at Rush University Medical Center and Cook County Hospital. He has a Master's Degree (M.S.) in clinical research and has published numerous peer-reviewed articles.
March 8, 2021
Acute Cystitis is characterized by the sudden inflammation of the bladder and urinary tract. This infection can be related to urinary tract infections (UTIs), which are commonly developed together. At times, UTIs can cause cystitis or cystitis can cause UTIs.
Acute cystitis comes suddenly and without warning, causing a host of uncomfortable symptoms that will make it difficult for sufferers to live their daily lives. Acute Cystitis isn’t life-threatening but is extremely uncomfortable and can cause severe issues if not treated properly.
If you or someone you care about might be suffering from acute cystitis, you should seek immediate medical attention. EverydayDr works together with PlushCare, an award-winning telehealth provider, to provide top-quality healthcare over the internet. Set up an appointment with a PlushCare doctor here to help diagnose cystitis.
The symptoms of acute cystitis are similar to those of a urinary tract infection and may cause or be caused by UTI. First, you may notice cloudy or even bloody urine that produces a pungent smell. This symptom could indicate that you’re dehydrated, but if drinking plenty of fluids doesn’t solve the problem, it may be caused by cystitis or a UTI.
The most telltale sign of cystitis and a UTI is the frequent and powerful urge to urinate. Those who suffer from a bladder infection are familiar with the uncomfortable sensation of needing to urinate constantly. This feeling can make it very difficult to focus on work or school and makes it hard to sleep comfortably.
The continual sensation of needing to urinate is caused by the bladder’s inflammation sending nerve signals to your brain. These signals mimic those sent when you need to urinate, so you can feel the urge to urinate even when your bladder is empty.
Frequent urination is also common among bladder infection sufferers. The average person will urinate up to seven times per day. Usually, people with healthy bladders will urinate once before bed and not have to do so again until the morning. Those who suffer from acute cystitis, by contrast, will urinate much more frequently and will be woken up one to several times each night by the urge to urinate.
Sufferers of acute cystitis will also feel pain in the urethra that can spread to the abdomen and lower back. This symptom is a telltale sign that something is wrong with the bladder.
Women are likely to feel a burning pain in the vulva and the perineal region behind the vagina. Men who contract acute cystitis or UTI will feel pain in the urethra, testicles, and the penis, as well as in the perineal area behind the scrotum. Feeling pain in the genitals during sexual intercourse is a sign of cystitis in both sexes.
There are a few causes of acute cystitis. Internal issues such as defects in the bladder tissue of the patient can lead to acute cystitis. If something is wrong with your bladder tissue, waste from the urine can have issues flowing out of the bladder and cause cystitis or UTI symptoms.
Other illnesses can contribute to the development of this infection as well. According to Medline Plus, “Cystitis is caused by germs, most often bacteria. These germs enter the urethra and then the bladder and can cause an infection.”
UTIs are caused by the urethra developing a bacterial infection that can spread from the urethral passage into the bladder, further causing cystitis.
Acute cystitis can be caused by holding urine in the bladder for too long. Urine carries harmful toxins that our kidneys have filtered out, and we urinate to discard these toxins. Delaying urination for too long could cause you to develop acute cystitis as the toxins could cause an infection if allowed to reside in the bladder for too long.
Exposure to certain chemicals could also cause bladder infections. Using products like bath bombs, spermicidal birth control, or certain feminine hygiene products can cause urethral irritation or infection that can spread to the bladder. Being exposed to chemotherapy or radiation, especially during cancer treatments, can also contribute to the development of cystitis.
Pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, kidney stones, HIV, or an enlarged prostate also facilitate cystitis development. If you have any of these conditions, your chances of contracting cystitis are significantly higher.
Drug-induced cystitis is possible if you are taking medications. Your body and bladder can react in unexpected ways to certain medications and cause your bladder to become inflamed.
The exact medicines that cause this inflammation are unique to your genetic makeup and medical history. Talk to a PlushCare doctor today to better understand how your body will react to certain medications or see if this is what’s causing your cystitis.
Cystitis is very bothersome and can cause significant health issues. It is, however, treated with comparative ease. Since many cases of cystitis originate from a bacterial infection, antibiotics are a standard and effective treatment.
Antibiotic treatments like Z-Packs, Trimethoprim, or Nitrofurantoin, for example, are effective against most cases of bacterial cystitis. Taking antibiotics will treat the symptoms quickly and remove the infection over five days to two weeks, depending on the severity.
As with all illnesses and infections, it’s best to treat cystitis as early as possible. If you feel as though you’re experiencing the early signs of a urinary tract infection (UTI), you may consider taking some UTI medications to stop the infection early. Products such as AZO and Uqora are proven to treat UTIs.
Although antibiotics will work in the vast majority of cases, extreme cases of cystitis may require surgery. This approach is only required when the patient has had cystitis for months refractory to treatment.
To explore your options for cystitis diagnoses and treatments, consider talking to an online doctor as soon as possible. Talking with a doctor and getting treatment is super easy with PlushCare’s booking flow. Don’t wait to get cystitis treated!
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