Urinary tract infections are very common in women. Experts reveal that most women have at least one incidence of cystitis during their lives and many have two to three such incidences. There are certain conditions that put women at risk of contracting cystitis. In this article, we aim to look at what those conditions are.
When bacteria called Escherichia coli infect the urethra and bladder, it causes inflammation of the wall of the bladder, a condition known as cystitis. E.coli bacteria form the healthy flora of the gut but certain virulent strains lead to the disease.
Though cystitis is not a serious disease but it causes lot of discomfort and inconvenience. Common symptoms that signal occurrence of cystitis in women are:
- pain, burning sensation when you urinate
- the urge to urinate often and urgently but passing only small amounts of urine
- dark, cloudy or strong smelling urine
- appearance of traces of blood in urine
- abdominal or back pain
- feeling weak
Sometimes, when a person passes stool, E.coli present in the back opening of digestive tract called anus, move from there to the front and travel to urethra and into the urinary bladder. It thrives in urine and multiply causes cystitis.
There are various ways in which E.coli can pass from anus to urinary bladder as detailed below:
- Insertion of tampon increases the risk of bacteria entering via the urethra
- Use of urinary catheter causes damage to the area
- Use of diaphragm for contraception
- Holding urine or not emptying it completely. This is largely the case with pregnant women.
- Blocking of the urinary system due to other bladder or kidney problems
- Physical damage or bruising caused by frequent or intense sex. Therefore sexually active women are also at greater risk
- Less mucus production and thinning of urethra lining during menopause also gives a favourable environment for bacteria to infect and thrive.
- Use of chemical irritants like perfume soap and talcum.
- Wiping back to front after urinating.
If you fall under any of the above categories, watch for any signs of cystitis and seek help from your doctor on how best to prevent the disease.