Cystitis: Fast Facts About STDs

Fast Facts About STDs: Cystitis

Name of Disease or Infection
Cystitis, also known as "Honeymoon Cystitis" or a bladder infection.

Type of Disease or Infection
Bacterial infection caused by the presence of E. coli or other bacteria or yeast in the urethra.

How Common Is It?
Usually referred to as a bladder infection, cystitis is a relatively benign infection that is quite common among women and rare among men.

How Do I Get It?
Cystitis occurs when E. coli or other bacteria normally present in the lower intestine (and in fecal matter) is introduced into the urethra, usually from wiping from the anus towards the urethra (rather than in reverse) following a bowel movement; frequent, strenuous intercourse; or insertion of fingers, penis or other objects into the anus and then the vagina without proper cleansing in between -- for example, putting sex toys first in your anus and then in your vagina without washing them first. It can also result from yeast from the lower gastrointestinal tract entering the urethra. When yeast or bacteria cling to the urethra, they can multiply and cause infection.

The most common symptoms are painful, burning urination and the urge to urinate frequently. At times, very little urine will be passed. Urine may be discolored due to blood, and/or be cloudy and have a bad odor. Some people experience a low-grade fever. Symptoms usually occur within a day or two after bacteria are introduced into the urethra.

What Should I Do If I Think I Have It?
See your clinician or physician immediately for a urine test.

How Do I Get Rid of It?
Your physician will prescribe sulfa drugs and instruct you to drink large quantities of fluids to flush the bacteria out of your system. You may be prescribed pyridium, which will decrease pain, but may turn your urine orange. Women can help prevent cystitis by drinking plenty of fluids and urinating frequently, especially immediately prior to, and after, sexual activity.

What Happens If I Don't Treat It?
If left untreated, symptoms will worsen and include lower-back or abdominal pain and fever. Eventually, damage to the kidneys may occur.

Who Should I Tell?
Cystitis is not sexually transmitted, so you do not need to tell anyone.