Acute Infective Cystitis

Written by Brindles Lee Macon and Winnie Yu | Published on August 16, 2012
Medically Reviewed by George Krucik, MD


Acute infective cystitis is an inflammatory condition in your urinary tract system. It can affect your bladder or the lower portion of your urinary tract. The bladder is a muscular reservoir that holds urine.

What Causes Acute Infective Cystitis?

Normally, harmful organisms leave the body when you urinate. Sometimes these bacterial organisms do not leave the urethra and travel back into your bladder.

Bacteria are the main cause of acute infective cystitis. Bacteria and other organisms may enter the bladder through the urethra, an opening in the genitals that allows urine to pass out of the body. Infection may spread from the bladder to the kidneys. Acute infections of the bladder and urinary tract cause immediate symptoms.

Rapid growth of bacteria and other organisms spread throughout the bladder’s tissues. Bacteria stick to the bladder walls. If left untreated, the bacteria can travel up the ureters (tubes connecting the bladder to the kidneys) and attack the tissue of the kidneys.

Who Is at Risk for Acute Infective Cystitis?

If you are female, you are more at risk for infections of the bladder and urethra because your urethra is smaller. It is much closer to the anus as well. Bacteria can travel from the anus to the urethra.

Other common risk factors:


Blockages in the urethra or bladder can keep bacteria inside the body and prevent urine from leaving the body.

Urine Retention

Urine retention can weaken the muscles of the bladder. A weak bladder may not release enough urine through the urethra and cause problems in the bladder’s tissue. Bacteria can enter the weakened tissue and trigger inflammation.

Prostate Gland Problems

If you are a male with prostate problems, you may want to speak to your doctor about ways to prevent bladder infections. An enlarged prostate gland can press against the urethra and cause it to narrow. This can trap bacteria in the urethra.

What are the Symptoms of Acute Infective Cystitis?

The following symptoms are common with acute infective cystitis:

  • pain while urinating
  • the inability to urinate or the release of only a small amount
  • urine that appears cloudy or bloody
  • urine that smells strong or bad
  • cramps in the pelvis or lower back
  • the excessive need to urinate

Diagnosing Acute Infective Cystitis

A doctor may diagnose acute infections of the bladder and/or urinary tract by first performing a physical examination. The doctor will look for signs of infection such as tenderness at the site and fever.

Other tests your doctor may do include:

  • a urinalysis to check your urine for bacteria and other organisms.
  • blood tests to look for increased white blood cells. White blood cells indicate infection in the body.
  • a urine culture to analyze the urine for signs of infection. It usually takes 24 to 48 hours for results.

Treating Acute Infective Cystitis

Acute infective cystitis requires medication for treatment.


Antibiotics may be prescribed to clear up the infection. Antibiotics may be taken for several days or up to two weeks.

To treat mild acute infective cystitis:

  • If you are female, you may need to take antibiotics for three days.
  • If you are male, you may need to take antibiotics for seven to 14 days.

To treat special cases:

  • Pregnancy may require taking antibiotics for seven days or more.
  • If you have a special condition like diabetes, you may need medication for a week or more.

Home Care

You should drink plenty of water to help rid the bladder and/or kidneys of infection. Acidic products, like cranberry juice, may help as well. Bacteria may not thrive well in acidic conditions.

What Is to Be Expected in the Long Term?

In most cases, acute infections of the bladder may clear up before you finish taking your antibiotics. Be sure to finish all prescribed medications to prevent other infections. Your doctor may request follow-up appointments to make sure an infection is clear.


You may prevent acute infective cystitis by drinking plenty of water on a daily basis. If you are female, strive for eight to 10 glasses a day. If you are male, try to drink 10 to 13 glasses a day.

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