Anyone who has been stuck on the toilet willing themselves to ‘go’ will know all too well that cystitis can be a real pain. And all too common. But what exactly is it and how can we prevent it? We break down everything you need to know…
What is cystitis?
Put simply, cystitis is an inflammation of the urethra which can lead to an infection of the bladder so anything that could cause trauma to this area could be responsible.
There are two main types of cystitis: bacterial (infectious) and non-bacterial and the division is typically half and half so if you are suffering, it’s just as likely to be either causes.
What causes cystitis?
Bacterial cystitis is caused when bacteria enters the body via the urethra. Once it’s made its way in, it can travel to the bladder and even the kidneys if left untreated.
Tampons can make you susceptible to bacterial cystitis. This is because the chemicals from tampons can irritate the delicate lining of the vagina, encouraging inflammation and bacterial infection which then travels to the urethra. The string on a tampon can act like the fuse on a stick of dynamite: providing bacteria with easy access to the body.
Non-bacterial or non-infective cystitis is normally caused by bruising or irritation of the urethra. Often, this can be caused by sex, which is why cystitis often is charmingly referred to as the ‘honeymoon disease’. Sex can also cause infectious cystitis; when body fluids are mixed, bacteria can more easily be transferred to the urinary tract.
Other causes of non-bacterial cystitis include: chemical irritants, including soaps and bubble baths. Even swimming pool chlorine can irritate the delicate lining of the urethra.
Drinking too little can make the urine over-concentrated, causing irritation of the urethra and the bladder, which is never properly emptied.
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