Cystitis is defined as inflammation of the urinary bladder. Urethritis is an inflammation of the urethra, which is the passageway that connects the bladder with the exterior of the body. Sometimes cystitis and urethritis are referred to collectively as a lower urinary tract infection, or UTI. Infection of the upper urinary tract involves the spread of bacteria to the kidney and is called pyelonephritis.
The frequency of bladder infections in humans varies significantly according to age and sex. The male/female ratio of UTIs in children younger than 12 months is 4:1 because of the high rate of birth defects in the urinary tract of male infants. In adult life, the male/female ratio of UTIs is 1:50. After age 50, however, the incidence among males increases due to prostate disorders.
Cystitis in women
Cystitis is a common female problem. It is estimated that 50% of adult women experience at least one episode of dysuria (painful urination); half of these patients have a bacterial UTI. Between 2–5% of women's visits to primary care doctors are for UTI symptoms. About 90% of UTIs in women are uncomplicated but recurrent.
Cystitis in men
UTIs are uncommon in younger and middle-aged men, but may occur as complications of bacterial infections of the kidney or prostate gland.
Cystitis in children
In children, cystitis is often caused by congenital abnormalities (present at birth) of the urinary tract. Vesicoureteral reflux is a condition in which the child cannot completely empty the bladder. It allows urine to remain in or flow backward (reflux) into the partially empty bladder.
Causes and symptoms
The causes of cystitis vary according to sex because of the differences in anatomical structure of the urinary tract.
Rebecca J. Frey, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,