Cystitis is the name for bladder inflammation. This can happen when bacteria enters the urinary tract and leads to a urinary tract infection (UTI). Before menopause, a common risk factor for getting a UTI is sexual intercourse. This is often called “Honeymoon Cystitis”. UTIs are the type of honeymoon no one looks forward to! Sometimes after menopause women can get frequent UTIs. Kidney stones can also lead to UTIs and so can the use of catheters.
About 20-40 percent of women get recurrent UTIs. This means they get at least two UTIs in a six-month period or three in a year. Burning when passing urine is the most common sign of a problem.
In many cases, extra water is all that is needed to treat a UTI, but often times an antibiotic is needed. The key is to use the right antibiotic for your type of infection.
To stop UTIs before they start, stay well hydrated and drink plenty of fluids (at least 60 ounces of water a day!). The goal is to increase how often you are able to pass urine. Some over-the-counter supplements can help such as cranberry pills, vitamin C and d-mannose, but make sure to check with your doctor before starting a new supplement. For post-menopausal women, vaginal estrogen creams may reduce UTI risk. For pre-menopausal women, it may help to avoid spermicidal foams. In some cases, an antibiotic may be used to prevent UTIs caused by sex. Talking to your doctor about your situation can help them suggest the best course of action to prevent UTIs.
Dr. Casey G. Kowalik, a urologist at the University of Kansas Health System, focuses on female urology, pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.
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