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Cystitis Causes and Symptoms to Help You Avoid An Attack

  • By Maria Bantellis
  • Published 12/21/2011

Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder, caused by irritation or infection.

Commonly known as a lower urinary tract infection (UTI), it usually affects only the bladder, however, in more severe cases and if left untreated the infection can escalate resulting in an upperurinary tract infection in the ureters or kidneys.

Cystitis symptoms can be easily recognised as well as treated.

With approximately four out of five women experiencing cystitis at least once in their lifetime, you are not alone – if you have any questions, your pharmacist or GP will be able to help.

Cystitis Causes

There are a number of reasons why you may suffer from cystitis. However if you find you are suffering recurrent bouts, you may want to consider the following factors, which may be the recurring cause for you:

Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes can make you susceptible to cystitis; if, for example, you’re going through the menopause, your oestrogen levels could drop causing irritation in the urethra. In this case, you may want to speak with your GP for further advice.

Not enough water

Not consuming enough water can be a trigger for cystitis – and you should most certainly drink more if you are experiencing a bout.

To flush out your bladder frequently, you need to drink plenty of water. Healthy, hydrated urine is the colour of straw and anything darker means you need to drink more fluids.


In some women, vigorous or not fully lubricated sex can lead to a flare up of cystitis. It can also affect those who use a diaphragm or spermicidal-coated condoms for contraception.

It’s advised that if you do use these forms of contraception and frequently experience cystitis, you may want to consider alternative options which you can speak with your GP about.

Personal Hygiene

Poor toilet hygiene such as wiping from front to back can also be a trigger for cystitis.

In some cases, women also wash their genitals too often, causing more harm than good.

Over-cleaning ‘down there’ may alter the normal balance of protective mucus, as well as scented soaps and bubble baths which can be an irritant.

Washing gently, once a day is sufficient.


Wear cotton underwear and change it daily, also avoid tight-fitting trousers and tights.

Warm, moist, airless conditions, specifically those around your genitals, are a breeding ground for bad bacteria.

Tip: If you are suffering recurring bouts of cystitis, speak with your GP.

Cystitis Symptoms

The most common symptoms can include:

  • Burning or stinging sensations when you pass urine
  • A frequent urge to urinate
  • Feeling that you can’t fully empty your bladder
  • The more serious symptoms can include:

  • Blood in urine
  • Abdominal pain or backache.
  • Fever, temperature and weakness
  • About the Author: Maria Bantellis is a health writer covering topics such as cystitis causes and symptoms.



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