Have you ever felt pain or burning when urinating, a frequent and urgent need to go to the bathroom, cloudy or bloody urine, fever or general malaise? If so, you may have suffered from a urinary tract infection, a condition that affects millions of people each year and can have various causes and consequences.
A UTI is an infection that occurs when bacteria that normally live in the intestine or genital area enter the urinary tract and multiply. The urinary tract is made up of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra, and each of these organs can be affected by infection.
Cystitis is a type of urinary infection that specifically affects the bladder, the organ that stores urine before it is expelled. Cystitis occurs when bacteria that have entered the urethra reach the bladder and cause inflammation of the lining of the bladder.
The most common causes of urinary tract infections and cystitis are bacteria from the intestine or genital area, especially Escherichia coli (E. coli). However, other factors such as pregnancy, menopause, diabetes, sexual intercourse, the use of spermicides or diaphragms, poor hygiene or constipation can also play a role.
In this article we will explain how to know if you have a urinary infection or cystitis, what are the symptoms that differentiate them, how they are diagnosed and how they are treated. We will also give you some tips to prevent these annoying and dangerous infections and keep your urinary health in optimal condition.
Differences in Symptoms: Urinary Tract Infection vs Cystitis
Both urinary infection and cystitis can cause annoying and painful symptoms that affect the quality of life of people who suffer from them. However, there are some differences in symptoms that can help us distinguish between the two conditions.
The general symptoms of a urinary infection are the following:
- Pain or burning when urinating.
- Frequent and urgent need to go to the bathroom.
- Cloudy or bloody urine.
- Shaking chills.
These symptoms can vary depending on the organ of the urinary tract that is affected by the infection. For example, if the infection affects the kidneys (pyelonephritis), pain in the back or side, sweating, and general malaise may also occur. If the infection affects the prostate (prostatitis), pain in the rectum, groin, or testicles, difficulty urinating, and erectile dysfunction may also occur.
The specific symptoms of cystitis are the following:
- Pelvic discomfort.
- Sensation of pressure in the lower abdomen area.
These symptoms are due to inflammation of the bladder that causes a constant feeling of fullness and irritation of the nerve endings. Cystitis can also cause urinary incontinence, or difficulty emptying the bladder completely.
As can be seen, the symptoms of cystitis are more localized and specific than those of a general urinary infection. However, some people with cystitis may not have any symptoms or may mistake them for a UTI. For this reason, it is important to consult a doctor in the event of any suspicious sign and perform the necessary tests to confirm the diagnosis and receive the appropriate treatment.
Differences in Diagnosis: Urinary Tract Infection vs Cystitis
To diagnose a urinary infection or cystitis, the doctor usually performs a series of tests that allow him to confirm the presence of bacteria in the urinary tract and determine the affected organ. However, there are some differences in the diagnosis of both conditions.
The diagnosis of a urinary infection is based on the following tests:
- Urinalysis: The healthcare provider tests the urine for signs of infection, such as bacteria, blood, or pus. If bacteria are found, you may also have a test called a "urine culture" to determine what type of bacteria is causing the infection.
- Renal ultrasound: This is an imaging test that uses sound waves to create an image of the kidneys and ureters. It is performed to rule out the presence of obstructions or abnormalities that may favor infection.
- Voiding cystourethrography: This is an X-ray test that involves introducing a contrast liquid into the bladder through a catheter and taking pictures while the bladder is filling and emptying. It is performed to assess the function of the bladder and urethra and detect possible reflux or strictures.
The diagnosis of cystitis is based on the following tests:
- Urinalysis: As with a UTI, urine is tested for bacteria and other signs of infection. A urine culture may also be done to identify the type of bacteria.
- Cystoscopy: This is a test that involves inserting a thin tube with a camera on the end (cystoscope) through the urethra and into the bladder. It is performed to observe the interior of the bladder and detect possible inflammations, ulcers or tumors.
- Bladder biopsy: it is a test that consists of removing a small tissue sample from the bladder wall with a special forceps that is inserted through the cystoscope. It is done to examine the tissue under a microscope and rule out other diseases such as cancer.
As can be seen, the diagnosis of cystitis requires more invasive and specific tests than the diagnosis of a general urinary infection. This is because cystitis can have causes other than bacteria, such as interstitial cystitis or root cystitis, which require further study. For this reason, it is important to go to the doctor in the event of any suspicious symptoms and follow their instructions to carry out the necessary tests and receive the appropriate treatment.
Differences in Treatment: Urinary Tract Infection vs Cystitis
The treatment of a urinary infection or cystitis aims to eliminate the bacteria that cause the infection, relieve symptoms and prevent complications. However, there are some differences in the treatment of both conditions.
The treatment of a urinary infection is based on the following aspects:
- Antibiotics: These are medicines that kill or prevent the growth of bacteria. The doctor may prescribe the type and duration of the antibiotic depending on the type of bacteria, the organ affected, and the severity of the infection. It is important to follow the doctor's instructions and complete the treatment even if the symptoms improve to avoid relapses or bacterial resistance.
- Analgesics: These are medicines that relieve pain or burning when urinating. The doctor may prescribe over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers depending on the intensity of the pain. Natural remedies such as baking soda or apple cider vinegar can also be used to alkalize the urine and reduce irritation.
- Anti-inflammatories: These are medicines that reduce inflammation and swelling of the organs affected by the infection. Your doctor may prescribe over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatories depending on the severity of the inflammation. Natural remedies such as aloe vera or chamomile can also be used to soothe inflammation.
- Hydration: it is important to drink plenty of water to promote the elimination of bacteria in the urine and prevent dehydration. It is recommended to drink at least 2 liters of water a day and avoid alcohol, coffee, tea or carbonated drinks that can irritate the bladder.
- Hygiene measures: it is recommended to maintain good intimate hygiene to avoid contact of bacteria with the urethra. It is advisable to wipe from front to back after defecating or urinating, wearing cotton underwear, and avoiding tight-fitting or synthetic clothing that favors moisture and bacterial growth.
The easiest and fastest way to maintain the hygiene of your intimate area is to use our Kit of 5 Female Moisturizing Gels daily , which is responsible for relieving vaginal dryness, reduces infections, itching, burning or discomfort caused by changes in pH of your vagina Best of all, its travel size is ideal to keep in your wallet in case of emergencies.
The treatment of cystitis also includes the same treatments of a typical urinary infection, plus some additions:
- Cranberries: they are fruits that have antibacterial and non-adherent properties that prevent bacteria from attaching to the walls of the bladder and causing cystitis. They can be consumed in the form of juice, capsules or extract. It is recommended to take at least 36 mg of proanthocyanidins (PACs), the active ingredient in cranberries, daily to prevent or treat cystitis.
- Probiotics: These are beneficial microorganisms that help restore the intestinal and vaginal flora and prevent the bacterial imbalance that can cause cystitis. They can be consumed in the form of supplements such as our Zenbiotic , which, in addition to providing you with immune well-being, its components help reduce the frequency of the most common female problems such as: vaginal pH imbalance and the presence of yeasts or fungi (Candidiasis).
In general, cystitis is a more specific and recurring condition that requires greater prevention and care. Therefore, it is important to follow the doctor's recommendations and complement the treatment with natural measures and healthy habits.
Prevention: Urinary Tract Infection vs Cystitis
The prevention of a urinary infection or cystitis is essential to avoid the discomfort and complications that can derive from these conditions. To prevent a urinary infection or cystitis, it is recommended to follow a series of practical tips and healthy habits, such as:
- Urinate frequently and completely empty the bladder. This helps kill bacteria that may have entered the urinary tract and prevent them from building up and multiplying.
- Urinating after sexual intercourse. This helps expel possible bacteria that may have entered the urethra during sexual intercourse and prevent postcoital cystitis. Wipe from front to back after defecating or urinating. This helps prevent contact of bacteria from the intestine or genital area with the urethra and prevent infection.
- Wear cotton underwear and avoid tight or synthetic clothing. This helps keep the intimate area dry and ventilated and prevent moisture and bacterial growth that can cause infection.
- Drink at least 2 liters of water a day. This helps to maintain good hydration and an adequate urinary flow that favors the elimination of bacteria and the prevention of infection.
- Take our Bye Bye Cystitis capsules , which help prevent or treat cystitis thanks to its antibacterial properties and source of Vitamin C, preventing bacteria from attaching to the bladder walls.
- Avoid irritating foods for the bladder, such as spicy foods, sausages, cured cheeses or refined sugars. This helps prevent inflammation and irritation of the bladder that can lead to infection.
- Take medicinal plants or supplements with a diuretic and anti-inflammatory effect, such as horsetail, dandelion, nettle or heather. This helps prevent or treat cystitis thanks to its action on the urinary system that favors the elimination of liquids and toxins and reduces inflammation.
For both cases, our Cleansing Foam with lactic acid is especially useful , composed of organic cranberry extract rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, allowing to maintain local immunity and pH to keep your V zone free of itching and infections.
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By following these tips and healthy habits, you can prevent a urinary tract infection or cystitis and keep your urinary health in optimal condition, without effort or worry 😉
In this article we have explained how to know if you have a urinary infection or cystitis, what are the symptoms that differentiate them, how they are diagnosed and how they are treated. We have also given you some tips to prevent these annoying and dangerous infections and keep your urinary health in optimal condition.
In summary, cystitis is a type of urinary infection that specifically affects the bladder and requires a more specific diagnosis and treatment than a general urinary infection. For this reason, it is important that you go to the doctor at any suspicious sign and that you follow his instructions to carry out the necessary tests and receive the appropriate treatment.
We hope this article has been useful and interesting to you. If you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to contact us.