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Cystitis vs. UTI

The difference between cystitis and UTI can be difficult to understand, and these bladder conditions are often confused. Interstitial cystitis refers to inflammation of the bladder wall, while a urinary tract infection is caused when bacteria enters the bladder. Because IC and UTI share many of the same symptoms, these conditions can be misdiagnosed and may be inappropriately treated.Here's how to tell the difference between UTI and interstitial cystitis.

The primary distinction in interstitial cystitis vs UTI is the cause of these conditions. IC is usually related to ruptured blood vessels on the bladder wall, a variant known as non-ulcerative IC. Fewer than 10 percent of IC cases are ulcerative, caused by Hunner's ulcers that affect the bladder walls. This chronic condition is part of a collection of symptoms known as painful bladder syndrome. While the exact cause of IC is unknown, it is likely related to a bladder defect, allergens or genetics.

A UTI is caused when bacteria enters the urinary tract. This is typically related to contamination with E. coli transferred from the GI tract because of its proximity to the urethra. Location While IC only affects the bladder, specifically the bladder walls, a UTI can arise in any part of the urinary tract. This includes not only the bladder but also the ureters, kidneys and urethra. Although some types of cystitis are linked to a UTI that affects the bladder, this is not the case with IC.

Symptoms UTI is characterized by: 

  1. Burning during urination
  2. A strong continual urge to urinate 
  3. Brown, pink or red tinge to the urine, which could indicate the presence of blood
  4. Cloudy and/or strong-smelling urine
  5. Constantly needing to pass small amounts of urine
  6. Pain around the pubic bone
  • When the UTI enters the bladder, you might experience pelvic pressure and pain in the lower abdomen. IC also causes pelvic pressure, a chronic urge to urinate and the passage of only small amounts of urine. Unlike UTI, however, with IC you may experience pain that relieves with urination and pain during sexual intercourse.

Is cystitis a UTI?
Not usually for this type of cystitis, although infections do lead to inflammation. But if a UTI occurs in a person who also has IC, IC symptoms tend to get worse.

Risk Factors
Women are more likely to develop a UTI than men. That's because the naturally shorter female urethra makes it easier for external bacteria to enter.

Other risk factors include: 

  1. Frequent sexual intercourse
  2. Intercourse with a new partner
  3. Menopause, when the natural defenses against UTI are lowered
  4. Use of spermicidal foam and/or a diaphragm for contraception
  5. Having a chronic medical condition that lowers the immune system, such as diabetes
  6. Having had a recent urinary tract procedure
  7. Having urinary tract blockages, such as a kidney stone IC is also more common in women.
  8. It's also more common in those who have a chronic pain disorder such as fibromyalgia and those who have fair skin and red hair.

Most people with IC are diagnosed after age 30. Treatment UTI can usually be successfully treated with an antibiotic. Those who are prone to infections can take a daily pill for ongoing UTI prevention.

Treatment of IC is more complex. Some common remedies include:

  1. Physical therapy to reduce pelvic pain and pressure associated with the condition
  2. Medications to improve symptoms, including NSAIDs, antidepressants and antihistamines
  3. Nerve stimulation techniques to reduce the frequency and severity of urinary urges IC can also be improved by lifestyle changes such as bladder training to reduce urinary urges and time between urinating.
  4. Avoid foods that irritate the bladder, wear loose clothing that reduces pelvic pressure and exercise regularly.
Cystitis vs UTI aside, all bladder issues require prompt medical care. Both conditions can lead to serious complications and severe discomfort if left untreated. 


Prevent UTIs with Uqora.

Uqora’s products aren't made with cranberry, and they aren't antibiotics. At Uqora, we use unique ingredients found in nature to develop products that work. Our drink mix will flush out bacteria introduced during specific activities, like sex or exercise.

You guys... this stuff is a life saver.

"I suffered from CHRONIC UTIs and have had some pretty serious repercussions from taking mass amounts of antibiotics. I have not had a UTI since I started taking uqora. I drink it after things that are my triggers (sex in particular) and it stops it in it’s tracks!"
Lacey, Uqora customer


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