Urinary Tract Infection Versus Cystitis

Urinary tract infections are common and can be frustrating. You may have a pain or burning sensation when you urinate, which is called dysuria. You may also have cloudy or bloody urine, a strong urge to go often and low abdominal pain. These symptoms of a UTI are caused by an infection in any part of your urinary system  kidneys, ureters bladder and urethra. Some people experience nausea while they're having one of these infections; others do not because they don't feel sick enough to vomit (vomiting happens only if you have severe low blood pressure).

Where Does a UTI Infection Occur?

You may be wondering whether or not your infection is a UTI or cystitis. While both are caused by bacteria and have similar symptoms, they're treated differently. A UTI is an infection in any part of your urinary system: kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra (the tube from the bladder to the outside). Cystitis refers to inflammation of the mucous membrane covering either one or both ureters—not necessarily all four elements of this system.

If you've had a cystitis infection before but haven't had any other symptoms like burning urination or pain during intercourse then it's unlikely that this new occurrence will develop into something more serious than just another bout with an occasional problem-causing bacterium hanging around in there somewhere.

Urinary tract infections are common. They're usually caused by bacteria, and they can be treated with antibiotics.

Urinary tract infections are a serious health condition that causes pain in the lower belly and back, blood in the urine, pain during urination (dysuria), painful urination after sex or exercise, and fever.

If you have symptoms of cystitis such as burning during urination or pain when laughing or coughing, see your doctor right away.

UTI and  Cystitis Are More Common in Women Than Men

UTIs are more common in women than men. This is likely due to the fact that women have a higher rate of bladder infections and cystitis, especially when they're in their 20s and 30s.

UTIs are also more common among older adults, who are at risk for urinary tract infections because of reduced mobility and decreased immune system function. In addition to age, diabetes can also make you more susceptible to UTIs; studies have shown that people with diabetes have an increased risk of developing both symptomatic (painful) and asymptomatic (no symptoms) bacterial urinary tract infections compared with those without diabetes..

Cystitis is also more common in women than men, which may be because their urethras are shorter, or because they have a greater likelihood of experiencing UTIs during pregnancy. While it's not clear why this is the case, we do know that many factors can contribute to an increased risk of cystitis. These include:

  • Having a urinary tract infection (UTI) during pregnancy or giving birth
  • Having an inherited genetic disorder like Williams syndrome

UTI Symptoms


  • Pain or burning while urinating
  • Urgency to void (frequent trips) that's unrelated to anything else such as constipation or heartburn
  • Blood in the urine

Cystitis Symptoms

Cystitis can cause pain and burning when urinating, cloudy or bloody urine, a strong urge to go often and low abdominal pain. If you have any of these symptoms you should see your doctor.

UTI and Cystitis with Antibiotics

Your doctor will usually treat a UTI and Cystitis with antibiotics that are appropriate for the type of bacteria that's causing the infection. If you're not sure what type of bacteria is causing your UTI, they may prescribe a broad-spectrum antibiotic like azithromycin or ciprofloxacin. You should take these medications for at least 3 days and drink plenty of water while you're on them (at least 8 glasses per day). Antibiotics are usually given by mouth or given as an injection. They will help kill any germs in your urinary tract, but they won't work if you don't take them every day as prescribed.


Acetaminophen to Help Ease Symptoms

Acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that can help reduce fever, pain and inflammation. It's safe for children and adults, but it's not recommended for people who have liver disease or an allergy to aspirin. If you're suffering from cystitis, take acetaminophen before bedtime so it will be absorbed into your system when you wake up in the morning.

Similar Causes and Symptoms but Different Types of Infections

The two conditions have similar causes and symptoms but are different types of infections in different parts of your urinary tract. UTIs are an infection in any part of your urinary system: kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Cystitis is an inflammation or infection within the bladder wall that can cause pain on urination (known as dysuria) or blood in urine (known as hematuria). While there are many other possible causes for a UTI such as a sexually transmitted disease or foreign object stuck somewhere along the urinary tract like a tampon string (which is what happened to me), for most people it’s just one step towards getting better.

In summary, urinary tract infections (UTIs) and cystitis are often confused because they can cause similar symptoms. However, they are actually very different conditions that involve different organs in the urinary system and require different treatment. UTIs are caused by bacteria that enter through the urethra or urinary opening. Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder wall due to irritation from bacteria or other irritants such as soap or urine residue left over on clothing. Both can cause pain, burning sensations during urination, cloudy or bloody urine and discomfort during sex for women.

Urinary Tract Infection Test Strips


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