Department of Health


Cystitis describes a urinary tract infection (UTI) that affects the lining of the bladder, resulting in inflammation. This is caused when bacteria travels up the urethra, consequently infecting the urine and bladder lining. Cystitis is the most common UTI, and is found particularly in women. It is not dangerous or contagious, however, if left for a long period of time without treatment the infection could reach the kidneys, possibly resulting in kidney damage or failure which can be life threatening.

Those more susceptible to cystitis are women from their late teens onwards, especially if they are sexually active. Women are also at higher risk at certain stages of their life due to their hormones. These stages include:

  • The time after a total hysterectomy
  • Certain times within the menstrual cycle
  • During menopause, and
  • Whilst pregnant.

For men, cystitis is more common later in their lives when they have trouble with urine flow. Bladder catheters and some urinary tract operations may also increase the risk of cystitis.

Symptoms of cystitis include:

  • A burning sensation whilst urinating
  • Cloudy, bloody or strong-smelling urine
  • Frequent urge to urinate, and
  • Lower abdominal pain.

Further information

For more information about kidney health or this topic, please contact your doctor or Kidney Health Australia:

Phone: Kidney Information Line 1800 682 53 (freecall)