Cystitis or Bladder Infection


Cystitis, the common term for an infection or inflammation of the urinary bladder, frequently occurs in women. The most common source of infection is bacteria, although viruses and fungi may also be involved.


  • Pain in the lower pelvis, abdomen, lower back, or side
  • Frequent and urgent urination
  • Pain, burning, or discomfort when urinating
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain during sexual intercourse


Diagnosis of cystitis involves a laboratory analysis of a urine sample and is usually treated with antibiotics. The symptoms may last as long as the infection lasts, or may disappear 24 hours after treatment begins. Consequently, completion of all prescribed medication is essential. During treatment, it is important to drink plenty of water and urinate frequently.


  • Drink plenty of fluids, at least 8 glasses of water daily.
  • Urinate after intercourse.
  • Wash the genital area before and after intercourse.
  • After using the bathroom, always wipe yourself from the front to back toprevent germs in the rectal area from getting near the urinary opening.
  • Try not to postpone urination when you feel the urge.
  • Empty your bladder completely when you urinate.
  • Avoid using soaps, douches, deodorant tampons, and pads.
  • Avoid tight fitting jeans.


Occasionally more serious infections in the kidney may develop. It is very important to seek further medical care if:

  • Your symptoms do not improve with treatment.
  • You experience back pain
  • You develop a fever
  • You feel worse after taking medication.


Bladder infections are not considered to be contagious, however, some individuals develop cystitis when bacteria is introduced into the urinary tract during sexual intercourse.

For more information contact the UNC Student Health Center at 351-2412.