Do you suffer from frequent urinary tract infections? If so, you may have a condition known as cystitis. Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder and can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, such as pain during urination, increased urge to urinate, abdominal pain, fever and much more. 

Understanding what type of cystitis you have is essential so your doctor can properly treat it with the most effective medication or therapy plan. So, what are the types of Cystitis?

An Overview of Cystitis – Definition, Causes, and Symptoms

Cystitis, a type of urinary tract infection UTI, is a painful and uncomfortable condition affecting both men and women. A urinary tract infection is actually an infection in any part of the urinary system — the bladder, ureters, kidneys and urethra. It can cause a range of symptoms, including pain or burning during urination, more frequent urination and an urgent need to urinate. 

Other symptoms may include lower abdominal pain and discomfort, blood in the urine and fever. While it is most commonly caused by bacterial infection, other factors such as bladder stones, radiation therapy or certain medications can also increase the risk of developing cystitis. If left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the urinary system and cause serious complications.

Risk Factors of Cystitis

Anyone can get cystitis, but some people may be more prone to it than others. Generally, common risk factors include:

  • Family history of cystitis – this may increase the risk of chronic cystitis
  • Being female
  • Being sexually active
  • Certain medications
  • Menopause
  • Immobility
  • Old age

The Types of Cystitis and Associated Symptoms

Cystitis is a term for bladder inflammation, and there are various types of cystitis that individuals can experience. Some of the most common forms of cystitis include bacterial cystitis, interstitial cystitis and radiation cystitis. The symptoms may vary depending on the specific type of cystitis, but they can include frequent urination, painful urination, cloudy urine and blood in the urine.

Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial cystitis is a chronic bladder disorder that primarily affects women. It is a complex condition that is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. The symptoms can be debilitating, including frequent urination, bladder pain, pelvic discomfort and the feeling of needing to urinate urgently. While there is no cure, various treatment options aim to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Symptoms of a UTI can range from a frequent need to urinate to a burning sensation during urination. UTIs are more common in women, and those who have suffered from this infection know the discomfort the condition brings. If left untreated, UTIs can lead to blood in the urine and spread to the kidneys, which can then lead to more serious complications. 

A bladder infection such as a UTI can cause cystitis, so you must seek medical attention if you think you may have a UTI.

Overactive Bladder Syndrome (OAB)

Overactive Bladder Syndrome (OAB) is not cystitis or a UTI; however, the symptoms of this condition can mimic those of a UTI, sometimes leading to incorrect diagnosis initially. OAB is a relatively common condition affecting millions worldwide. It is a condition in which the bladder muscles contract involuntarily, leading to sudden urges to urinate, even when the bladder is not full. 


OAB can be challenging to manage and can significantly affect a person’s quality of life if left untreated. However, various treatment options, from lifestyle modifications to medications and surgery, can help patients regain control of their bladder and enjoy their daily activities without constant interruptions.

Cystitis Diagnosis & Treatment Options

In many cases, cystitis can be treated with over-the-counter medicine available at pharmacies, but for more severe infections, antibiotics may be required. Common antibiotics that GPs typically prescribe for cystitis are nitrofurantoin and trimethoprim; however, there are others. If cystitis doesn’t respond to treatment or if an upper UTI is suspected, urine cultures may be taken to identify the problem and find appropriate treatment options.


If over-the-counter medicine doesn’t clear up the initial infection, it’s important to see a doctor. If you are unable to attend an in-person appointment with your regular GP, you can benefit from online GP appointments for cystitis treatment instead. As an online GP service, tapGP provides access to appointments with general practitioners at a time that suits you, from the comfort of your own home or wherever you happen to be. 


Just like you would with your regular doctor in person, you can discuss your symptoms with a GP online who can diagnose your issue and prescribe antibiotics if necessary to help clear up your bout of cystitis.

When Should I Speak to a Doctor?

If you think you have been suffering from any of these symptoms, it is always a good idea to bring this up with your general practitioner. They will be able to carry out a full medical history and examination to determine the cause of your symptoms.

Please check your symptoms and visit your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. If your symptoms are getting worse, you may need to seek urgent medical advice!