Cystitis is a cruel affliction. It has you crossing your legs desperate for a pee; and then when you go, it hurts like chilli in a wound. It’s an infection of the bladder – where urine is stored, until you’re prepared to release it – and is commonly caused by bacteria. Here E.coli bacteria (shown in yellow) are seen on a landscape of cells lining the bladder (shown in blue) where they are wreaking havoc. They are causing painful swelling and mucus secretion (strands shown in orange). Sometimes they irritate the bladder so much it bleeds and urine is coloured by red blood cells (disc-shapes seen on the left). Because they have a shorter and more easily infected urethra – the pipe leading from the bladder to the outside – women are more at risk. Drinking plenty of water can sometimes be enough to flush out a bladder infection, putting you back in control.
Written by Lindsey Goff
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