Many office workers suffer from cystitis. So what are its symptoms and what are the early warning signs?
Cystitis is a common type of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). It arises when a bacterial infection of the bladder causes inflammation. The disease affects more women than men. This is because a woman's urethra is generally shorter than a man’s, and so closer to the anus area with a lot of germs, making contamination easier.
- Frequent urination and urinary retention
- Abdominal pain or burning sensation when urinating, especially when finishing urination
- Foul-smelling urine with turbidity or blood-like reddish tint
- When found with pyelonephritis symptoms is accompanied with fever, chills and waist pain
Another risk indicator for cystitis is urinary incontinence lasting six hours or more, caused by sitting for long periods working. Another indicator is urination incontinence when faced with a foul toilet. Other risk factors include having too little water retention and low immunity such as in the case of taking immunosuppressant drugs or diabetic medications. Moreover, menopause reduces moisture-producing hormones in the lining of the vagina and urethra, making them more vulnerable to infection. In men, urinary tract infections are more common in the form of bladder stones and prostate enlargement, or from leaving a urinary catheter in place for too long.
Fortunately, cystitis is both preventable and easy to treat. However, if you miss or ignore warning signs and don’t get timely treatment, the infection can spread to the kidneys causing pyelonephritis. If you don’t treat that, it can become chronic and cause kidney failure. If the infection spreads in men it can lead to prostatitis, a severe case of which can infect the bloodstream and cause death.
Primary care practices for cystitis sufferers
- Drink 2 liters of clean water, about 6-8 glasses, per day.
- Urinate every time you need to. Don’t hold in your urine
- Control or reduce consumption of coffee, alcoholic drinks, soft drinks, and sweet fruit juices.
- Try to keep active and don’t sit still for long stretches.
- Clean the anal and (in women) genital area from front to back after excretion to prevent germs from entering the urethra.
- Avoid using deodorant on the genitals (if not necessary), including sprays, as they can cause irritation.
- When bathing, avoid soaking too long in the tub as any germs in the water have more chance to cause infection.
- Consult a pharmacist for the correct and most effective medication to treat the condition without provoking drug resistance. If the symptoms worsen, see a doctor.
As described, cystitis is caused by bacterial infection. So the prescribed treatment is antibiotic therapy matching the specific pathogen, taken together with symptomatic medication. Whenever you have to take antibiotics there is always a prescribed treatment according to the drug type. For example, Amoxicillin is taken 3-4 times a day after meals and at bedtime. Most of the symptomatic medications for cystitis are pain killers or muscle-relaxants to loosen the compression in the bladder. However, if symptoms do occur, it’s always best to consult a doctor or registered pharmacist. Don’t simply select medicines for yourself because they may be the wrong type or have side effects. Meanwhile, to avoid the problem in the first place, sip water throughout the day and don’t hold your urine in.
• Bumrungrad Hospital
• MedThai website
• Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University
• Thonburi 2 Hospital