Diagnosed with cystitis? Not sure what that means? Learn about the different types of cystitis.

If you’ve been diagnosed with cystitis, you are certainly not alone. Millions of men, women and children are diagnosed with cystitis, also known as an irritation to the bladder wall. Symptoms can include: urinary frequency, urgency, burning with urination, painful urination, urinary retention hematuria and pain as the bladder fills with urine.

There are many different types of cystitis which can leave patients and their family members confused. From bacteria to parasitic flatworms, chemical exposure to radiation, the bladder can be irritated and/or harmed in many different ways.

Infectious or Bacterial Cystitis

Patients with infectious cystitis have an infection which has caused their bladder symptoms. It could be a bacterial infection (i.e. e-coli), viral infection (i.e. polyoma BK) or a fungal infection (i.e. candida). Fever or chills may also be present. Many mistakenly assume that infections occur as a result of poor personal hygiene.

In Spring 2016, a woman with what she thought was a typical bladder infection was found to have a dreaded multiple resistant bacteria first discovered in China in pork products. Since then, it has been isolated throughout the world as well as four patients in the USA and several pork products. (Superbug found in Illinois and South Carolina)  Drug resistant candida infections are also occurring in record numbers. (Learn more)

Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include:

  • urinary frequency
  • urgency
  • pain during urination
  • fever and/or chills
  • blood in their urine.

Patients suspected of having infectious cystitis will generally have a urine test and culture combined with antibiotic sensitivity testing to determine which treatment is the most effective. Untreated infections can progress up into the kidneys where they can become life threatening. If you suspect that you have a bladder infection, you can use a home UTI test. If it’s positive and/or if your symptoms are extreme, contact your primary care provider immediately.

Interstitial Cystitis

Patients with interstitial cystitis have all the symptoms of a UTI but urine cultures find no bacteria, virus or fungi. IC was originally thought to be a dysfunction and/or injury of the bladder wall.  Recent research, however, has also found that many patients have an underlying pelvic floor muscle injury that is contributing to or exacerbating their symptoms. The Interstitial Cystitis Network website was first dedicated to interstitial cystitis in 1995. Learn more!

Eosinophilic Cystitis

Eosinophilic cystitis (EC) is a very rare bladder disorder characterized by the build up of eosinophils (a type of white blood cell) in the bladder. Eosinophils normally live in the blood stream in small quantities. The body will produce more in response to allergies, skin conditions, infections, autoimmune diseases, some cancers and bone marrow disorders. In some conditions, however, eosinophils build up in various organs and tissues where they can cause injury and inflammation, including: the bladder, esophagus, stomach, colon, blood vessels. Learn more!

Ketamine Cystitis

Ketamine cystitis (or ketamine bladder syndrome) is a fairly new reported side effect to the recreational use of ketamine (aka Special K). First documented in 2007, clinicians in Asia, Canada, the USA and Europe have reported treating young, teenage ketamine abusers who appear to have severe and possibly irreversible bladder, kidney, liver and possible brain damage. Long term use of ketamine can be catastrophic to the urinary tract.  Learn more!

Hemorrhagic Cystitis

Patients with develop sudden visible blood in their urine  may be diagnosed with hemorrhagic cystitis. It is often associated with cancer therapy (radiation, chemotherapy), various chemical exposures (dyes, insecticides and ketamine), bladder cancer and severe autoimmune disease (HIV). Patients must first be evaluated to determine what could be causing their bladder symptoms. This may include having a cystoscopy so that your physician can get a closer look at your bladder wall. Antibiotics may be used to treat and/or prevent future infection. If anemia occurs, infusions and/or blood transfusions may be necessary. Pain treatment may be needed! Learn more!

Radiation Cystitis

Radiation cystitis often occurs as a result of radiation therapy for cancer treatment in the pelvic area (prostate, cervical, ovarian, bladder). Radiation can damage and/or trigger inflammation in the blood vessels and tissues supporting bladder function. Symptoms can be short or long-term, resulting in a variety of urinary symptoms, microscopic or visible blood in the urine, a contracted bladder, a non functioning bladder, incontinence, necrosis and even death.  The intensity of radiation cystitis depends upon where the bladder was affected, the dose rate and the total dose over time.

Chemotherapy Induced Cystitis

Certain types of cancer therapy (chemotherapy) can irritate the bladder wall. If you are receiving cyclophasphamide and ifosfamide therapy, you should understand that these medications are broken down into substances (acrolein) which can irritate the lining of the bladder. It can become severe and/or cause ulceration in the bladder wall which could cause severe bleeding.  Treatment can include stopping the medication and/or chemical exposure causing the bladder irritation, using a therapy that can help protect the bladder wall and, of course, pain therapy. Diet modification to avoid foods high in acid and caffeine is also quite helpful.

Follicular Cystitis

Follicular cystitis can occur after periods of long-term chronic cystitis, either from infection or chemo therapy in which the bladder lining appears to change. Small mucosal, brown nodules are seen on the bladder wall, often in areas of profound inflammation. In some cases, the mucous of the bladder can become very thickened, often with a purple or grayish color. Pus and/or ulcers can also be present. The first priority of treatment is to treat any infections that are present.  Antihistamines, antidepressants, antispasmodics and urinary anesthetics may help manage symptoms. Learn more at: https://www.medigoo.com/articles/follicular-cystitis/

Schistosomiasis Cystitis

Commonly found in Africa, the Middle East and Caribbean, the parasitic flatworm Schistosoma can infect the entire human body, including the genitourinary tract (bladder, kidneys). More than 207 million people in 74 countries are infected, the majority in Africa. An estimated 700 million people are at risk of infection in 76 countries where the worm is considered endemic. Globally, 200,000 deaths occur.

Humans become infected through contact with contaminated water containing the larval form of the parasite. The larva will simply attach to any exposed skin and burrow into the tissues. Agricultural workers, women who wash clothing in infected water candor children who play in mud and water are particularly at risk. Tourists who play in fresh water (swimming, boating, rafting, skiing) can also contract the condition and may develop severe infections.

While the worm lives in various blood vessels, the eggs released can become trapped in body tissues where they cause a severe immune response and progressive damage to organs. Eggs released by the adult worm cross through the bladder and bowel walls, causing inflammation, ulceration, the development of polyps and bleeding. One form of the worm, S. haematobium has also been associated with squamous cell bladder cancer which occurs 10-20 years after the initial infection.

Learn more at: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/228392-overview