Cystitis and sexual activity
Some people may be hypersensitive to chemicals contained in certain products, such as bubble bath, bath salts, douches, feminine hygiene sprays, spermicidal jellies, and latex condoms. Certain products used for vaginal or anal pleasure (such as vibrators) may also cause bladder infections either from the materials used in making of the product themselves or in the improper cleansing of the product by the consumer before or after use. Both women and men may develop an allergic-type reaction within the body causing cystitis.
Sexual intercourse can result in harmful bacteria (your own or your partner’s bacteria) being pushed into the urethra. This happens so often for people having sex for the first time or after a period of not having sex that it has a name: honeymoon cystitis.
Honeymoon cystitis remains more common among young women in their twenties, although women of all ages have reported that they suffer from the problem. The risk of honeymoon cystitis increases if someone starts having sex again after not having done so for a long period of time. Condoms may help but are not a guarantee of protection against honeymoon cystitis, especially if sexual activity includes direct skin-to-skin stimulation before penetration.
Hormonal changes at any time of life may increase the risk of a bladder infection. Altered hormone levels in postmenopausal women are often associated with urinary tract infections, but men also experience hormone changes throughout life and can also be more at risk of cystitis with these changes and other life stressors.
Cystitis and douching
This method of female hygiene has been shown to increase the chances of cystitis (inflammation) in the vagina as well as other parts of the body. The word ”douche” is French for ”wash.” It is a method to wash out the vagina with a mixture of water and vinegar. Douches that are sold in drugstores and supermarkets contain antiseptics and fragrances that are at best non-beneficial to a healthy vagina and at worst cause serious inflammation that may lead to disease.
Douching upsets the natural balance of beneficial bacteria in the vagina (called vaginal flora). These changes make the environment more favorable for the growth of harmful bacteria that cause infection and result in cystitis.
Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Research has found that women who douche may have a 73 percent higher risk of getting pelvic inflammatory disease.
Proper nutrition and drinking lots of water will do more to contribute to a healthy vagina and less cystitis than artificially cleansing with chemicals.
Cystitis and children
Infants receive specific protection against many infections, including urinary tract infections and resulting cystitis, from bacteria through immunoglobulins in the mother’s breast milk. Infants that are not breastfed have a higher rate of getting infections because they lack this immune-system booster.
In young children with cystitis related to the bladder, there is likely to be problems with toilet training because the cystitis makes the need to urinate harder to recognize and elimination is also a challenge. There may be new episodes of accidental wetting of clothes or bedding.
Young children are at greater risk of kidney damage from bladder infections because symptoms are often overlooked or mistaken for other conditions. If there is no pain, the child may not even notice that something is wrong. Usually the problem manifests with a fever or with urine that smells bad, which is a good indication that something is going wrong in the child’s body.
Girls and women tend to be more susceptible to certain infections because the female genital area can spread harmful bacteria that can cause cystitis. Urinary tract infections typically occur when bacteria outside the body enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply and spread to the bladder.
Parents who notice cloudy urine plus a low-grade fever in their child should take their child to a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis of the cause.
Common symptoms that show cystitis may be leading to a kidney infection include back or side pain, fever and nausea, or vomiting.
Cystitis and other diseases
Most cases of cystitis don’t lead to serious health complications, but it is certainly possible and worth mentioning in this article. If any infection is severe and left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body and develop into something more serious. For example, an untreated bladder infection can lead to kidney infection, and chronic kidney infections may permanently damage kidney tissue and/or kidney function.