Cystitis in pregnancy: symptoms, causes, remedies


  • 1 What is cystitis
  • 2 Cystitis in pregnancy: the causes
  • 3 Cystitis in pregnancy: symptoms 
  • 4 Asymptomatic bacteriuria 
  • 5 Cystitis in pregnancy: diagnosis and treatment 
  • 6 Tips to prevent cystitis in pregnancy

UTIs are common when expecting a baby. Among them, cystitis in pregnancy is probably the most common. Even if it is not a serious problem, albeit annoying, it should not be neglected because there could be consequences on the fetus. So let's see all the details. 

What is cystitis

Cystitis is inflammation of the bladder. There are various forms and it can be caused by different types of pathogens, such as viruses, fungi, some types of germs, bacteria. The bacterial cause is by far the most frequent. Among bacteria, in 80% of cases the "culprit" is Escherichia Coli, which normally colonizes our intestine, but if it comes into contact with the urethra (the channel that connects the bladder with the outside) can cause cystitis. In women, the urethra is very close to the anal orifice, which explains why urinary tract infections are so common among women. 

Cystitis in pregnancy: the causes

As noted above, in most cases, cystitis is caused by bacterial contamination and pregnancy makes no difference. One contributing cause is constipation, a nuisance that affects many future mothers. The difficulty in evacuating causes stagnation of the stools and it is easier for the urinary tract to be contaminated. This is why, for example, it is always good to pay attention to intimate hygiene, washing with a movement that goes from the genital system to the anus and not vice versa. 

Another cause of cystitis in pregnancy is hormones. In fact, progesterone relaxes smooth muscles and this also affects the walls of the bladder. The urine therefore tends to stagnate longer, the urinary flow is less strong and bacterial proliferation increases. 

Sometimes, sexual intercourse can also promote the onset of cystitis. In this case, hygiene is key. 

Cystitis in pregnancy: symptoms 

Cystitis almost always gives particular symptoms, even if there are asymptomatic forms. Not all of them may be there, but usually the signs of cystitis in pregnancy are: 

  • urge to urinate.
  • Need to urinate often.
  • Burning and pain on urination. 
  • Malaise. 
  • Concentrated and / or cloudy urine.
  • Feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder.
  • Difficult urination.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Fever.

Asymptomatic bacteriuria 

Asymptomatic bacteriuria is defined as an infection that is caused by bacteria but presents without symptoms. It is then discovered by chance, through a urine test and, in particular, a urine culture, but those affected do not have any particular discomfort. If not treated effectively (i.e. with the right antibiotic for the type of bacterium responsible) it can have a major complication, pyelonephritis, a kidney infection. 

In pregnancy, treating asymptomatic bacteriuria is even more important. If this is not done, the two most serious fetal consequences are preterm delivery and / or an underweight fetus.

Cystitis in pregnancy: diagnosis and treatment 

Diagnosis of cystitis is made through urinalysis, a test that gynecologists routinely prescribe during pregnancy, sometimes even once a month. The goal is precisely to intercept any urinary tract problem early and to intervene specifically. 

Antibiotic therapy is needed to treat bacterial cystitis. To do this, however, urine culture is necessary, which serves to understand what is the pathogen at the base of cystitis. Not all antibiotics are effective against all bacteria, but they need to be administered in a targeted way. 

After treatment, your doctor may re-order a urinalysis to verify that the infection has actually gone away.

Tips to prevent cystitis in pregnancy

  • Avoid constipation: taking fiber, drinking plenty of water, doing some exercise are the golden rules for preventing constipation which, as we have seen, is one of the possible causes of cystitis. 
  • Drink a lot of water to promote diuresis, avoiding the stagnation of urine in the bladder.
  • Limit the consumption of sugars: if they accumulate in the bladder, they become a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Carefully take care of your personal hygiene. 
  • Wear clothing (especially underwear) made of natural fibers: synthetic fabrics do not allow transpiration, resulting in bacterial proliferation. In addition, they must be comfortable and not particularly snug. 
  • Never hold your pee when it escapes: as we have seen, stagnation is harmful. 
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