The possible causes of bladder inflammation

Bladder inflammation, also called cystitis, is a typical women’s complaint. An important cause of this lies in the female anatomy. She has a shorter urethra than men, so that organisms can reach the bladder more quickly. Pain and cramping in the lower abdomen, burning when passing water and a persistent urge to go to the toilet are the characteristic symptoms of bladder inflammation. 

The most common causes of bladder inflammation are bacteria. The organisms generally derive from the gut, pass through the urethra and then «climb» up to the bladder. There, the bacteria are able to cause inflammation and irritation of the bladder wall.

The causative bacterium is almost always a species of Escherichia coli (abbreviated: E. coli). This bacterium is part of the normal gut flora. However, if it reaches the urinary tract it can provoke inflammation there.  

The healthy body has protective mechanisms to fight off micro-organisms. The acidic milieu in the vagina forms a natural barrier protecting the entrance to the urethra from germs. By drinking water and consequently urinating, any germs, which have gotten into the urethra, will usually be quickly flushed back out. If the protective mechanisms are damaged, undesirable organisms may reach the bladder and provoke inflammation.  

Using this self-test you can check whether your symptoms could indicate bladder inflammation.  

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Signs of bladder infection?

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The following factors can increase the likelihood of bladder inflammation (cystitis):

Weakened immune system
If the immune system is weakened by stress, hypothermia or a cold, then the risk of a urinary tract infection is increased.

Volume of fluid intake
An inadequate fluid intake with incomplete bladder emptying can increase the risk of bladder inflammation. Drink at least two litres of water a day. This can help to wash out infectious organisms promptly.

Honeymoon cystitis
What lies behind this phenomenon? Following sexual intercourse, the female urogenital tract is exposed to previously unknown bacteria – from the man – and the immune system is not yet sufficiently adjusted to these microbes. The foreign bacteria can lead to irritation and inflammation in the urinary tract. The immune system must adjust to the foreign bacteria coming from the partner when engaging with a new partner or following a prolonged period of abstinence.

Wiping technique 
An incorrect «wiping technique» after a bowel movement. Wiping from back to front can transport gut bacteria in the direction of the urethral entrance.

Inappropriate intimate care
Excessively frequent washing can damage the acidic protective barrier of the skin. The best agents are pH-neutral or acidic washing lotions.

Pregnancy
During pregnancy, the hormonal balance changes. An undesired consequence of this is that the urinary passages widen and, consequently, microbes may penetrate more easily into the urethra.

Diabetes 
The metabolic disease diabetes weakens the microbial resistance of mucous membranes and bacteria can stick more readily to the mucosal cells.

Menopause
During menopause, oestrogen deficiency can also promote bladder inflammation.

Contraceptive measures
Vaginal diaphragms and spermicides change the vaginal flora.

Long-term catheters 
Long-term catheters cause mechanical irritation of the bladder. In addition, they produce an open connection between the urinary tract and the outside, which allows bacteria to reach the urethra.

Preventative measures to avoid bladder diseases are advisable. You can go here to learn about preventative measures.   

The following home remedies can help to alleviate the symptoms of bladder inflammation:

  • Drinking: 2-3 litres of water per day
  • Do not delay too long between visits to the toilet
  • Heat: Hot water bottles or hip baths 

     

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