Cystitis means an infection in the bladder. If it is caused by a bacterium it is called bacterial cystitis but it can also be caused by irritation or damage.


Symptoms of cystitis include:

  • pain,
  • burning or stinging sensations when passing urine
  • needing to urinate frequently and urgently
  • urine that is dark, cloudy or strongly smelling
  • urine that contains traces of blood
  • pain directly above the pubic bone, or in the lower back or abdomen feeling unwell, weak or feverish

Untreated bladder infections can cause kidney infections.

Cystitis in women

Cystitis is more common in women, because women have a short urethra (the tube that passes from the bladder out of the body) and its opening is located very close to the anus. This makes it easy for bacteria from the anus to reach the bladder and cause an infection.

Almost all women will have cystitis at least once in their lifetime. Around one in five women who have had cystitis will get it again (recurrent cystitis). Cystitis can occur at any age, but it is more common in:

  • pregnant women
  • sexually active women (honeymoon cystitis)
  • post-menopausal women (after the menopause)

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