August 2014

Bladder Infections

Bladder Infections, “Cystitis”


What Is Cystitis?

Cystitis is the technical term for a bladder infection or lower urinary tract infection. Cystitis generally occurs more frequently in women, than in men. It is most common during the periods of sexual activity and in the post menopause era for women. In men it often is more common in periods of abstinence after periods of prolonged sexual activity as well as in the 60's and 70's.



A variety of bacteria can infect the bladder, however, the most common organism causing bladder infection is E. Coli. These bacteria are present in the large intestine of all healthy men and women. Why E. Coli causes infection in some individuals and not others, is still a mystery. Several reasons are commonly given. Many physicians believe that in women it may relate to the way they wipe themselves after having a bowel movement that is, wiping back to front may move the E. Coli organism toward or even into the vagina. Others believe that it is related to nylon or rayon (synthetic fibers) used in underwear. It is also believed that the bacteria of the lower digestive tract use these fibers as a kind of highway, to move from the rectum, into the vagina. A third reason often given is that sexual intercourse can cause changes which predispose to infection. Another theory is that bacteria travel through the body from the bowel to the bladder. Certain chemicals such as those in a bubble bath or perfumed tampons have been associated with bladder infections. Finally, holding urine and allowing the bladder to over expand predisposes to bladder infections.



The most common symptom is frequency of urination. That is an increased frequency of the number of times urinated during the day and night. This is often noticed because of nocturia - waking at night to urinate more than usual. Another symptom is urgency the feeling that you must urinate. Other symptoms are tingling or burning even pain on urination. In some individual there may be gross blood in the urine. Generally there must be at least microscopic red blood cells or white blood cells in the urine to make the diagnosis of a urinary tract infection. Finally, the most important diagnostic evidence is presence of bacteria in the urine.



The diagnosis of a bladder infection is made on the basis of the above symptom pattern along with looking under the microscope or chemical strip testing that demonstrates red or white blood cells or bacteria.



The most common method of treatment is the use of antibiotics. Commonly sulfonamides are used, when there is allergy or history of adverse reaction to sulfonamides penicillins, tetracyclines or cephlosporins may be prescribed. Most important is that whatever antibiotic is prescribed is that the full course of the medication, usually ten days is completed even if the symptoms subside within the first few days. Follow-up testing is often required to insure that the infection has been adequately treated. This is more important with recurrent infections then it is with a single one-time-only infection.



  1. Always urinate immediately after intercourse.
  2. Urinate when you have the urge -- do not hold off urinating for past this urge, if possible. Urinate before going to meetings that will last for a long time, before classes or before travel. While traveling, stop periodically to empty your bladder. Over extension of the bladder is one of the most common reasons for bladder infection.
  3. Wipe from front to back after a bowel movement. Use moist cleaners to clean the area between the rectum and the vagina, once again wiping from the front to the back.
  4. During sex play do not allow fingers that have been in or around the rectum to enter into the vagina. If you have anal intercourse, do not then have vaginal intercourse.
  5. Wear cotton panties and changed soiled undergarments, as soon as possible.
  6. Do not use bubble baths, feminine hygiene sprays, commercial douched, deodorant or scented tampons or pads.


General Healthy Tips

  1. In addition to the above preventive measures, the following health tips are important for general feminine health:
  2. Avoid wearing tight fitting pants.
  3. Do not use commercial douches to excess or for vaginal infection without medical advice.
  4. It is not advisable to wear panties on a twenty-four hour a day basis. Spend some time without underpants so that the vulva can dry out and not be in contact with fibers that can bring bacteria from the rectum to the vagina or bladder. If you must wear underpants, change them at very least, every eight to twelve hours.
  5. Avoid intercourse with a partner who has any sores on his penis, a discharge or a general rash.
  6. Rest and a good diet are important to maintaining a strong body and resistance to infection.
  7. Do not hold anger. Urinary tract infections can also be related to unresolved anger or rage. If you are aware that you have a problem with holding anger or rage talk to me or see a counselor.