Bacteria can cause an infection in the bladder. The bacteria normally live in the colon or vagina. It may be passed or move to the area urine leaves the body. The bacteria can then travel up into the bladder. If a bladder infection is left untreated it can lead to a kidney infection.
Less often, acute cystitis nay be caused by medication or trauma.
Acute cystitis is more common in women. Other factors that may increase your risk of uncomplicated cystitis include:
Being sexually active
Use of spermicide
New sexual partner
History of acute cystitis
Factors that increase your risk of complicated cystitis include:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will also be done.
A sample of your urine will be studied
for blood and pus. Sometimes the urine will be tested to look for the exact type of bacteria.
A CT scan may be needed for more severe or recurrent problems. The scan may help to see problems or blockages in the bladder.
A bladder infection can be treated with antibiotics. It is important to take all of the medication as recommended. A hospital stay may be needed with a severe infection. This will allow the antibiotics to be delivered through IV.
The infection may cause pain and spasms in the bladder. Your doctor may recommend medicine to help manage pain until it passes.
If the cystitis is caused by medication or trauma those causes will need to be managed.
To help decrease the risk of a bladder infection:
Empty your bladder completely and drink a full glass of water after having sex.
Colgan R, Williams M. Diagnosis and treatment of acute uncomplicated cystitis. Am Fam Physician. 2011;84(77):771-776.
Cranberry. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/biomedical-libraries/natural-alternative-treatments. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Katchman EA, Milo G, et al. Three-day vs longer duration of antibiotic treatment for cystitis in women: systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2005;118(11):1196-1207.
Uncomplicated urinary tract infection (UTI) (pyelonephritis and cystitis). DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116894/Uncomplicated-urinary-tract-infection-UTI-pyelonephritis-and-cystitis. Accessed January 29, 2021.
What I need to know about urinary tract infections. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/uti_ez. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Last reviewed March 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 01/29/2021
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