Coping with Intestinal Cystitis
Cystitis broadly refers to different types of infections of the bladder and where an intestinal bacterium is seen as the source of the problem it is called intestinal cystitis. It is important to understand that there are various kinds of cystitis. The term refers to everything from the inflammations caused by a bacterial infection such as in the case of urinary tract infections and also to interstitial cystitis (IC) which is caused by a damage in the lining of the bladder wall and not by a bacteria or virus, This, unfortunately, also means that there is no easy cure for interstitial cystitis with antibiotics or other medications. However, IC is manageable with other kinds of treatment including behavioral change.
There are many people who suffer from intestinal cystitis and there is no demarcation in terms of age or race or gender in terms of who is affected by the disease. The signs and symptoms of the disease are varied in different patients. Among the symptoms common to most patients are increased frequency of urination, urgency and related pressure and pain in the bladder area and abdominal spasms during urination or during sexual intercourse. Some patients complain of chronic pelvic pain while others report that they have no pain. In general, the intensity of the symptom seems to increase while the bladder is becoming full and tends to decrease after the bladder is emptied. Men complain about prostate inflammation and pain when experiencing the problem and women feel a vulvar pain. Both sexes have pain in the perineum region which makes sex very uncomfortable and men may find ejaculation painful also. Children who have intestinal cystitis may show only signs such as loss of appetite, irritability and general weakness.
The symptoms also have varying intensity during the course of the disease. Initially they are strong and then they seem to decrease or it may be a case of the patient becoming more used to the pain and discomfort. Some patients also feel that the problem has periods of flaring up and remission. While anxiety and depression are not direct symptoms of this disease, the social pressures of coping with intestinal cystitis, especially if it is prolonged or recurrent, and its impact on a patient’s lifestyle can lead to psychological problems also. There are also practical difficulties such as exhaustion or fatigue from having to wake up multiple times a night to use the bathroom.
People with improper toilet hygiene, men with enlarged prostate, people using a catheter, those born with congenital urinary tract deformities, new brides, and women in their pregnancy are all particularly vulnerable to infections in the bladder area. Venereal disease can also trigger cystitis.
Drinking plenty of fluids including water is a good way of washing out a bacterial infection. You can try using some of the over the counter medications available for relieving the symptoms. Make it a practice to empty your bladder completely whenever you visit the restroom and make it a point to do this every three hours. Women should use the restroom immediately after sex to avoid the danger of any bacteria settling down in the urethra. Cranberry juice is supposed to help the body in fighting cystitis. If what you are experiencing is IC and there is no infection to fight, you may have to rely on behavioral changes to cope with the problem.
Some oral medication and topical medications are recommended to cope with the pain and to reduce the sensation of urgency but these are not cures to the problem as much as ways of alleviating the symptoms.
If you find yourself repeatedly fighting intestinal cystitis you should visit a doctor and get a urine culture. There may be a bigger problem and self-diagnosis may not be the best way to deal with it.