Bladder Infection

Bladder Infection

Acute Cystitis

(Bladder Infection)

Pronounced: sis-TY-tis

by Swedish Staff and Contributors

Symptoms of a Bladder Infection
Bladder Infections Defined
What Causes Bladder Infections
Risk Factors

Symptoms of Acute Cystitis

Symptoms of acute cystitis (inflammation of your bladder) may include:

  • An urgent need to urinate frequently
  • Passing only small amounts of urine
  • Pain in your abdomen, pelvic area, or lower back
  • Experiencing a burning sensation while urinating
  • Urine leakage
  • Frequent need to get up at night to urinate
  • Cloudy, bad-smelling urine
  • Blood in your urine
  • Low-grade fever
  • Fatigue

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Acute Cystitis Defined

Acute cystitis is inflammation of your bladder. Acute means sudden or severe. The condition is usually caused by a bacterial infection. There are two types are of acute cystitis:

  • Uncomplicated—Occurs in premenopausal, nonpregnant women, and in people with no other underlying medical conditions
  • Complicated—Underlying medical conditions are present

The Urinary Tract

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What Causes Acute Cystitis

Bacteria entering your urethra and traveling into your bladder is most often the cause of acute cystitis. Your urethra is a tube that allows urine to pass from your bladder to the outside. Bacteria may enter the urethra from your lower intestines, your rectal area, or skin.

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Your doctor will ask you about your medical history and any symptoms you may be experiencing. A physical exam will be performed to check for fever and pain in your abdomen, pelvic area, or lower back. Your urine will be tested for the presence of bacteria.

Women commonly experience acute cystitis. Children and men who develop the condition may require additional examination of the bladder.

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Antibiotics are taken to treat acute cystitis. It is important to take all antibiotics as recommended even if you are feeling better.

Medication to reduce pain and bladder spasms may also be prescribed by your doctor.

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Risk Factors    

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of developing acute cystitis. The following factors increase your risk of uncomplicated cystitis:

  • History of acute cystitis
  • Sexual activity
  • Birth control—Use of diaphragm or condoms coated with spermicide

Factors that increase your risk of complicated cystitis include:

  • Having a urinary catheter
  • History of childhood urinary tract infection
  • Having an immune system that’s compromised
  • Being pregnant
  • Having diabetes, type 1 or type 2
  • Abnormalities of your urinary system, such as having kidney stones or a kidney transplant
  • Having an enlarged prostate
  • Catheter use
  • Birth control devices—Use of diaphragm or with spermicide

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Steps you can take to keep bacteria out of your urinary tract and prevent acute cystitis include:

  • Drinking plenty of liquids, including cranberry juice. Some studies support the use of cranberry juice to prevent urinary tract infections.
  • Urinating when you have the urge.
  • Emptying your bladder after sexual intercourse.
  • Washing your genitals daily.
  • If you're a woman, wiping from the front to the back after having a bowel movement.
  • Avoiding the use of douches and feminine hygiene sprays.
  • Wearing underwear or clothing that fits properly, is not tight fitting.

This content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Swedish.

Diagnosis and Treatment

For more information:

Primary Care