This text provides information in simple language on the subject: cystitis.

What is a cystitis?

The bladder is an important organ in the lower abdomen. The urine collects in the bladder. Is there a lot of urine in the bladder? Then this becomes noticeable: You have to urinate and excrete the urine.

The bladder is connected to the urethra. The urethra leads out of the body:

  • in a woman through the vagina,
  • in a man by the penis.

When urinating, the urine drains through the urethra.

The urethra and bladder can become inflamed. This is also called: cystitis. Men rarely have cystitis. But in men, the cause of cystitis is often worse than in women. Therefore, men should always see a doctor if they have a bladder infection.

What are the causes of a cystitis?

There are several causes of a cystitis. Most often, Escherichia coli bacteria cause cystitis. Escherichia coli bacteria are gut bacteria. These bacteria have important tasks in the intestines. The bacteria are not dangerous there. But sometimes these gut bacteria get into the urethra. The anus is namely near the urethral outlet. The bacteria then travel from the urethra to the bladder. In the bladder, the bacteria cause inflammation. Escherichia coli bacteria are dangerous there.

Structure of the urinary tract in women and men.

© W & B / Ulrike Möhle

In women, the intestinal outlet is very close to the urethral outlet. This makes it easier for the bacteria to get into the urethra. Women are therefore more likely to have cystitis than men.

How can you tell if you have a cystitis?

There are different signs of a cystitis. For example, people who have a cystitis have to urinate frequently. Typical complaints are also:

  • Pain or burning sensation when urinating,
  • Pain in the lower abdomen.

Other signs of a bladder infection can include:

  • the urine is cloudy or has a smell
  • there may be blood in the urine.

What can you do about a cystitis?

Bladder infections can vary in severity. Mild bladder infections often heal on their own in otherwise healthy people. Drink a lot and stay warm. Drinking a lot is important. This flushes the bacteria out of the bladder.

Certain home remedies can also help with healing. In the pharmacy, for example, there is bladder tea or kidney tea. These teas can help with cystitis.

Warning: a cystitis can also be dangerous. Severe bladder infections can lead to other diseases in the body.
In some people, bladder infections are always dangerous:

  • in pregnant women,
  • in people with a weak immune system,
  • in people with certain other diseases
  • and in men.

Therefore, these people should always speak to a doctor if they have any signs of cystitis.

Some people have bladder infections very often. Even then, a doctor can help. The doctor can then prescribe medication for the cystitis, such as antibiotics.

How can you avoid cystitis?

You can reduce the risk of developing a bladder infection. To do this, you should consider these things:

  • Always drink enough water,
  • go to the bathroom several times a day,
  • always wipe the toilet paper from the vagina to the anus, not the other way around,
  • wear cotton underwear,
  • wash your underwear at 60 degrees,
  • keep warm
  • put on dry clothes immediately after bathing.

Where can you get more information?

You think: maybe you have a cystitis? Or do you have severe complaints? Then go to the doctor. The doctor will examine you and give you all the important information.

Would you like to read more about cystitis? You can find more information about cystitis here. Attention: This link leads out of our simple language offer. The information is then no longer in plain language.

Attention: You will only find general information in this text. The text does not replace a visit to the doctor. Only a doctor can give you accurate information. Are you feeling sick? Or do you have questions about an illness? Then you should always see a doctor.

We wrote the texts together with the Light Language Research Center. The light language research center is at the University of Hildesheim.