What is Cystitis?

Cystitis is an infection or inflammation of the bladder. It is a very common condition (affecting up to 40% of women) and is most common in women who are sexually active, pregnant women or those who have just been through menopause. The feeling that you may need to urinate more often and suffering from uncomfortable or even painful urination are two of the main symptoms that indicate you may be suffering from cystitis.

Normally when you urinate it should not be painful, and your urine should be the colour of straw. The amount of urine you produce varies according to what you’ve been eating or drinking, but in mild climates such as Ireland, it’s normal to produce anything between 800ml and 2.5l a day.

Cystitis is usually caused by a bacterial infection, but it could be also the result of damage or irritation to your bladder (non-infectious cystitis).

There are many causes of inflammation, so if you suffer frequently from cystitis, keeping a diary and recording when you get cystitis may help you to determine what triggers it for you.

Causes of Cystitis

  • Using highly scented toiletries such as perfumed soaps, shower gels, powders & vaginal deodorants.
  • Wearing tight clothing that restricts air access, such as tight trousers, leotards etc.
  • Being dehydrated which can cause crystals or uric acid which in turn irritates the bladder.
  • Going to the toilet irregularly, holding on for too long, or not emptying the bladder fully.
  • Sexual activity, which can bruise the lining of the bladder.
  • Certain health conditions also increase the likelihood e.g. bladder/kidney stones, diabetes, if a person is less mobile, urinary catheter etc.

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The European Food Safety Authority recommends that women should drink about 1.6 litres of fluid per day.