Cystitis is the medical term for an inflammation of the bladder. Most of the time, the inflammation is the result of a bacterial infection, but it can also be caused by irritation or damage. It causes an urgent and frequent need to urinate. Cystitis also causes burning or stinging when passing urine.

Mild cystitis usually clears up within 4-9 days. Moderate to severe cystitis can cause abdominal pain, or even fever, and may need treatment with antibiotics.

You should see your doctor if you:

  • experience symptoms of cystitis for the first time
  • have more than just mild symptoms, or symptoms do not go away, or if they worsen
  • have had cystitis more than three times in one year
    (recurrent cystitis)



Bacterial infection

Most of the time, the inflammation is the result of a bacterial infection and is referred to as a urinary tract infection (UTI). The treatment of choice for a UTI is an antibiotic. It is important that you consult your doctor if you have acute cystitis symptoms because when left untreated, a bacterial infection can spread to your kidneys and lead to serious health problems.

A bacterial infection is often caused by bacteria that get into your urethra from surrounding skin and travel up towards your bladder. This can happen when you:

  • use tampons
  • are sexually active
  • wipe back to front when you go to the toilet
  • use a diaphragm or spermicides for contraception

Damage or irritation

Cystitis can also be caused by damage, or irritation. This can happen when you:

  • have frequent or vigorous sexual intercourse
  • wear tight clothing
  • use products that can irritate your skin such as perfumed soap, talcum powder, shower gel, bubble bath, spermicidal agents etc.
  • or are unable to empty your bladder completely due to a physical condition such as pregnancy. 1

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