Urinary tract infections or cystitis
What is cystitis?
Cystitis is inflammation of the bladder and is usually caused by a urine infection. In this case, it is known as bacterial cystitis. It is extremely common, with most women experiencing at least one infection in their lifetime and one in five women suffering repeated attacks. It is more likely to occur in women who are pregnant, sexually-active or post-menopausal.
Although most common in women, cystitis can also occur in men and requires a thorough evaluation to identify the cause. This is commonly due to an enlarged prostate in men.
What are the symptoms of urine infections?
The typical symptoms include:
- Burning or discomfort in your abdomen or water pipe (urethra) when passing urine
- Passing urine more often than normal but only passing small amounts each time
- Cloudy or smelly urine
- Pain in your back
- Fevers and chills
Why do I keep getting urinary tract infections?
In most cases, there is no clear reason why cystitis episodes come back. Your body has a number of defence mechanisms to prevent you getting urine infections in the first place and sometimes there could be a problem with these defence mechanisms that makes the chances of getting cystitis higher.
In women, infections are commonly related to sexual intercourse, use of diaphragms for contraception, pregnancy or low oestrogen levels in the vagina.
In men, incomplete bladder emptying caused by an enlarged prostate may be the cause.
In some cases, there may be a physical problem with your kidneys or bladder that can make it more likely for you to develop urine infections.
We will perform a thorough assessment to rule out a physical abnormality as the cause of your infections at your initial consultation.
Mr Malde offers specialist appointments for detailed investigation and treatment of male and female patients at his private urology clinics across London.
How can recurrent urinary tract infections be prevented?
A number of lifestyle measures may reduce your risk of urine infection:
- Fluid intake. Drinking plenty of water (around two litres per day) and emptying your bladder regularly may help to ‘flush out’ the bacteria. Avoid strong coffee, alcohol or acidic drinks (such as fruit juice or fizzy drinks)
- Avoid using bubble baths, deodorants and powders on the vaginal area
- Do not wax or shave too close to the vaginal and urethral openings
- Avoid diaphragm contraception and contraceptives containing spermicide
- If related to sex, increase your intake of fluids around this time and empty your bladder just before and after intercourse
Other options include:
- Vaginal oestrogen creams for post-menopausal women
- Supplements such as D-mannose and certain probiotic drinks have been shown to reduce your chances of developing urine infections
- Cranberry juice or tablets have been helpful for some patients although the evidence is mixed
- Antibiotics. This is a last resort but you may require a low-dose daily antibiotic for a period of three to six months to reduce the chances of developing infections. If your infections are linked to sex, then taking a low-dose antibiotic just after intercourse may prevent your infections developing
How we can help you
Mr Malde offers an expert service for the investigation and treatment of recurrent urinary tract infections in men and women.
You will undergo a detailed evaluation with further investigations such as an ultrasound scan, urine flow tests and a telescopic inspection of your bladder (cystoscopy), if appropriate. He will then discuss the best treatment options for your specific case.
Specialist appointments can be booked at any of his private urology clinics near you.