Watch that Storage Vessel

By Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi

The urinary bladder is a balloon-like organ that stores urine excreted by the kidneys before its disposal via the urethra. Anatomically, it is a muscular sac situated in the pelvis, just above and behind the pubic bone. Cystitis also known as the inflammation of the bladder is a common bladder infection. Based on the factors surrounding their emergence, various forms of cystitis are as listed below:

1.      Bacterial cystitis: This is of a bacterial origin with E.coli being responsible for most of its incidence.

2.      Nonbacterial Cystitis: This term covers many medical disorders that affect the bladder. It includes

a.        Infectious nonbacterial cystitis:  This includes all forms of the disease caused by non bacterial microbial forms.

b.      Non Infectious nonbacterial cystitis: It is caused by non living forms such as: radiations, chemicals, autoimmunity and hypersensitivity.

3.       Painful bladder syndrome/ interstitial cystitis: This involves experiencing a syndrome of pain      and genitourinary symptoms for which no cause is found.

Cystitis is more common among women than men due to the structure of the female urinary system. The urethra is close to the rectum, bacteria can easily migrate from the rectum to areas around the vagina. Sexually active women have an increased risk of bladder infection as sexual intercourse can propel the bacteria to the bladder. Having sex during menstruation is medically unsafe. During menstruation, the pH of the vagina is less acidic being prone to infections of various sorts.

When cystitis affect men, it is considered complicated because the long male urethra is expected to prevent bacteria from getting into the bladder. However when urine is retained in the bladder either due to nerve damage or an enlarged prostate, it could cause multiplication of bacteria increasing the risk of infection. Enlarged prostate is the most common cause of cystitis among older men. Use of urinary   catheters could also expose men to it.

Symptoms of bladder infection include: pain and discomfort during urination, pain in lower abdomen, cloudy urine with unpleasant odour, blood in urine, frequent urination and urgency to urinate. Complicated cystitis may have additional symptoms like fever, chills, nausea, flank and back pain. In children, new episodes of bed-wetting may also be a sign of bladder infection.

Based on the type of bladder infection, treatment may vary. Bacterial cystitis can be treated with antibiotics. Interstitial cystitis may require the use of medication taken orally or inserted into the bladder or manipulation of the bladder to distend it. It could also be treated through a surgical procedure or nerve stimulation using mild electrical impulses. Treatment of non-infectious non bacterial cystitis involves addressing its specific cause while infectious nonbacterial cystitis may require local or systemic pharmacotherapy.

Treatment of bladder infection is achievable but if untreated, it may spread upward to the kidneys-causing pyelonephritis (inflammation of the kidney) or to the blood- causing urosepsis (a systemic inflammatory response of the body to infection).                                    




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