Cystitis - acute
Acute cystitis is an infection of the bladder or lower urinary tract. Acute means that the infection begins suddenly.
Uncomplicated urinary tract infection; UTI - acute cystitis; Acute bladder infection; Acute bacterial cystitis
Cystitis is caused by germs, most often bacteria. These germs enter the urethra and then the bladder and can cause an infection. The infection commonly develops in the bladder. It can also spread to the kidneys.
Most of the time, your body can get rid of these bacteria when you urinate. But, the bacteria can stick to the wall of the urethra or bladder, or grow so fast that some stay in the bladder.
Women tend to get infections more often than men. This happens because their urethra is shorter and closer to the anus. Women are more likely to get an infection after sexual intercourse. Using a diaphragm for birth control can also be a cause. Menopause also increases the risk for a urinary tract infection.
The following also increase your chances of having cystitis:
Most cases are caused by Escherichia coli (E coli). It is a type of bacteria found in the intestines.
The symptoms of a bladder infection include:
Often in an older person, mental changes or confusion are the only signs of a possible infection.
Exams and Tests
In most cases, a urine sample is collected to do the following tests:
Antibiotics can be taken by mouth. These are most often given to stop the infection from spreading to the kidneys.
For a simple bladder infection, you will take antibiotics for 3 days (women) or 7 to 14 days (men). For a bladder infection with complications such as pregnancy or diabetes, or a mild kidney infection, you will most often take antibiotics for 7 to 14 days.
It is important that you finish all the antibiotics prescribed. Finish it even if you feel better before the end of your treatment. If you do not finish the antibiotics, you may develop an infection that is harder to treat.
Let your provider know if you are pregnant.
Your provider may prescribe medicines to ease discomfort. Phenazopyridine hydrochloride (Pyridium) is the most common of this type of drug. You will still need to take antibiotics.
Everyone with a bladder infection should drink plenty of water.
Some women have repeat bladder infections. Your provider may suggest treatments such as:
Over-the-counter products that increase acid in the urine, such as ascorbic acid or cranberry juice, may be recommended. These medicines lower the concentration of bacteria in the urine.
Follow-up may include urine cultures. These tests will make sure the bacterial infection is gone.
Lifestyle changes may help prevent some urinary tract infections.
Most cases of cystitis are uncomfortable, but go away without complications after treatment.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your provider if you:
Nicolle LE, Norrby SR. Approach to the patient with urinary tract infection. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 284.
Schaeffer AJ, Matulewicz RS, Klumpp DJ. Infections of the urinary tract. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Partin AW, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 12.
Sobel JD, Kaye D. Urinary tract infections. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases Updated Edition. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 74.
Review Date: 7/22/2016
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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