Various conditions can impact our urinary system. Some of these can seem similar enough to be mistaken for each other. Cystitis vs. UTI compares two different infections that many people do not know are different. As they are often considered to be the same thing, it is crucial to understand each of them separately.  

Understanding Cystitis vs. UTI 

At Alliance Urology, we can find solutions for any issues you encounter with your urinary system. Determining whether you are suffering from cystitis or a UTI can make it easier to correct the problem quickly and accurately. 

What is cystitis? 

Understanding cystitis vs. UTI means also understanding each of them separately. Cystitis does seem to be less known than a UTI. This is the inflammation of specifically the bladder caused by infectious or non-infectious reasons. 

Often, the most common cause of cystitis is a bacterial infection. This increases when you frequently use a catheter, have diabetes, are pregnant, and have kidney stones. However, there are also non-infectious causes, such as chemicals in hygiene products, taking a particular medication, or reacting to cancer treatments. If you can recognize any of these factors in your daily life, it could give you an answer to the pain once you start feeling symptoms. 

The symptoms of cystitis include: 

  • Persistent urge to urinate
  • Burning sensation when urinating 
  • Blood in the urine
  • Small amounts of urine frequently 
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Fever
  • Pressure in the abdomen area 

What is a UTI? 

A urinary tract infection is an infection of the urinary tract. This can include everything from the urethra to the bladder to even the kidneys. The Mayo Clinic details that a UTI is caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract through the urethra, where it then goes to the bladder and begins to multiply. 

The symptoms of a UTI include: 

  • Persistent urge to urinate
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Small amounts of urine frequently 
  • Cloudy urine 
  • Urine that appears bright pink or red
  • Pelvic pain 

As you can see, the symptoms of cystitis vs. UTI  are very similar. 

How are the two different?

While both cystitis and UTI symptoms make them appear to be the exact same issue, there are still differences between them. One of the main differences between cystitis vs. UTI is that cystitis can stem from non-infectious causes. A urinary tract infection, by definition, must involve an infection. This distinction clarifies that a UTI can also be cystitis. However, cystitis is not always a UTI.  

Another main difference between the two is that cystitis is located in the bladder only. A urinary tract infection presents itself in any part of the urinary system. This is what causes the most significant distinction of not being able to say that these two conditions are the same. 

How is each one treated? 

Once a urine culture is taken to determine if the patient does, in fact, have one of these two issues, the next step is determining how to solve the problem. The treatment options for each of these conditions are similar. According to Stanford Medicine, a UTI is typically treated with antibiotics that can defeat the infection and alleviate the pain throughout taking them. Similarly, cystitis is generally treated with an antibiotic as well. Cystitis vs. UTI comes with many layers of information.

Understanding cystitis vs. UTI can make diagnosing and treating a patient much more straightforward. While they do have many similarities, they are not entirely the same. You may even realize that you struggled with one when you thought it was the other. Are you experiencing frequent urination with pain? Schedule an appointment at Alliance Urology to find treatment solutions for your situation. Check out our website or give us a call at (336) 274-1114 for more information.