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What Is Cystitis?

The good news about your bladder is that you really only think about it if it's too full or if there's a problem.  And when there's a problem there, you know.  Cystitis is the most common form of bladder infection in women and is generally very uncomfortable.  Classic signs of a bladder infection include burning with urination, a sense of urgency to void, and lower abdominal pressure.  There may also be blood in the urine.

Cystitis can be caused by numerous bacteria either from a woman's own body or from a sexually transmitted infection.  There are also women who are just more prone to bladder infections than others.  Other factors that may increase the likelihood of bladder infections are diaphragm usage, vaginitis, or increased sexual frequency.  This is where the term "honeymoon cystitis" comes from.

Cystitis is usually easily treated with a short course of antibiotics.  If untreated, the infection can spread within the urinary tract to the kidneys, causing a much more serious medical condition called pyelonephritis.  In general, women taking antibiotics for a urinary tract infection should be aware that yeast infections may crop up as a result.  In addition, women taking birth control pills should use back-up contraception while taking certain antibiotics.  If you have any questions about the safety of taking medicines together, ask your pharmacist or health care provider.

Created: 6/15/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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