An ailment, cystitis, distressingly frequent among women, has as its chief symptom a markedly increased desire to urinate frequently. This act is attended with much distress and often with a sharp or burning painful sensation. Not infrequently the condition of bladder cystitis costs the patient a good night’s sleep because of the frequency with which she must visit the bathroom.
As the urgent desire to empty the bladder may recur every few minutes, the patient is continually straining, and becomes weak and depressed. The condition may become chronic after the acute attack has subsided, and the disturbance may persist for years.
This condition is known as bladder cystitis, though it is commonly called “a cold in the bladder,” since it is believed to arise from having taken “cold” in that organ. The true nature of the ailment is, however, an infection sometimes of the bladder and sometimes of the tubes leading from the kidneys to the bladder. In this case the doctors will tell you that pyelitis is present also.
The existence of such a disorder is naturally very disturbing, since infections of the urinary tract are in the common mind associated with venereal disease. This possibility, of course, must always be borne in mind; but fortunately the majority of cases are due to nothing more than an infection of the lining membranes of the bladder by germs carried there from some other part of the body. Here’s where the colon assumes great importance since it is from the colon that a large percentage of these infections arise.
When stagnation occurs in the colon, promoting the growth of the bacteria normally found there, substances are produced which render the wall of the colon more porous than it normally would be. In this manner, it is believed that the superabundance of colon-bacilli are permitted to swarm over into the blood stream, and in the course of time reach the kidneys. These organs, of course, excrete the invaders and thus the colon-bacilli are passed down to the bladder where the cystitis described above takes place.
Gynecologists often find, however, that infection may extend into the bladder from a loop of the colon which has become adherent to the bladder wall because of some infection.
They are known as B. Coli infections and are often difficult to combat. Indeed their treatment can often only be successful under the guidance of a urologist, that is a specialist in diseases of the genitourinary tract. However, the urologist will be the first to tell you that, although certain drugs such as penicillin, streptomycin and aureomycin can snuff out the infection, the chances of reinfection are great unless the original source of infection also receives adequate attention.
It is at this point that a long continued colitis, even of a low grade type, assumes importance for the colon in a case of colitis is the breeding ground of myriads of bacilli and any and all of these can and do spill over into the urinary tract if the protective barrier presented by the lining of the colon is damaged or sufficiently weakened.
Less serious, though sometimes equally distressing, is an increased frequency in urination which is not associated with any infection but results from a reflex irritation from a rampant colitis. In such cases the urine analysis will be absolutely negative and the more severe symptom of pain in the bladder region will be absent. However, the greatly increased frequency can be quite annoying in itself as well as the impairment in control which sometimes accompanies this condition.
Nowadays it is a simple matter to get a urine analysis as there are clinical laboratories in almost every city. If there is any question in your mind, better have the urine analysis made and learn the facts. If the condition continues more than forty-eight hours, certainly your best policy would be to present yourself to your family physician for diagnosis and treatment.
It is of the utmost importance, therefore, when confronted with a condition such as bladder trouble, to tell your doctor of the condition of the bowels, particularly if you have noted any symptoms of habitual constipation or a long-continued diarrhea. By so doing, you will place at his disposal facts which will aid him in his endeavor to help you back to health.