Cystitis is an infection of the urinary tract or bladder causing pain and inflammation. It is also commonly known as a water infection, bladder infection or a urinary tract infection (UTI). It is caused by bacteria, usually from the anus, entering the urinary tract (urethra) and moving up to the bladder, causing infection.
The most common causes of cystitis are bacterial infection - most commonly by caused the bacterium, E.Coli. The bacteria is more likely to enter the urethra during sex, if you wipe from back to front after using the toilet, when inserting a tampon or a contraceptive diaphragm. Bacteria in your bladder are more likely to cause an infection if there is a blockage in, or there has been damage or irritation to, your urinary system.
Cystitis is most common in women, it is estimated almost all women will experience cystitis at least once in their life. Around 1 in 5 of those that experience cystitis will suffer with it more than once, know as recurrent cystitis. Cystitis is more common in women due to their shorter urethra, allowing bacteria to reach the bladder more easily. It is most common in women who:
- Are pregnant
- Are sexually active
- Have been through the menopause
- Are diabetic
- Use a catheter
- Have kidney problems