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  • What is it? Cystitis is an inflammation inside the bladder. More than half the women in the UK will have it at some time and many women suffer repeated episodes. Men can get cystitis too but it is much less common. Cystitis can be caused by the bacteria, which normally live in your bowel, getting into the urethra or bladder this can then cause inflammation. Cystitis can be very painful and distressing but it is not usually a danger to your health
  • Symptoms When you have cystitis you will experience one or more of the following symptoms:-
  • A burning feeling in the urethra when you pass water
  • Sometimes there can be blood in the urine or it may be cloudy
  • A feeling that you need to pass water very frequently, even though there may be hardly any urine to pass
  • A dragging ache in the lower back or Abdomen 
  • Transmission Cystitis can be caused by:

  • Bacteria from the bowel

  • Friction during sex

  • 'Irritable bladder’ which is a particularly sensitive bladder.

  • Treatment. There are several things you can do to relieve the symptoms:-
  • Drink a pint of liquid as soon as you recognise the symptoms. Then, every 20 minutes, drink at least another half-pint of fluid. After 3 hours you will probably find the symptoms begin to wear off. Lots of water (or any other bland liquid) helps to flush out bacteria and to dilute your urine so that it does not sting as much when you pass urine.
  • Place a hot-water bottle wrapped in a towel between your thighs or on your lower back to help ease the pain.
  • Take a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda mixed with half a pint of water every hour. This makes your urine less acidic and so stops the bacteria multiplying. It also eases the stinging when you pass water. (Anyone with high blood pressure or heart trouble should not take bicarbonate of soda.)
  • Take a couple of painkillers. Rest and relax.
  • Ask your doctor about alternative or complementary treatments like aromatherapy
  • Some women find that regular drinking of cranberry juice, or barley water can help clear up an attack.
  • Your pharmacist can sell you a treatment to relieve the symptoms of cystitis.
  • If you get cystitis after sex, it may help to wash and pass urine before and after sex (ask your partner to do the same) and also use a lubricant when you have penetrative sex.
  • Medical help should be sought if: -
  • You are male (go and see the doctor in all cases)
  • An attack of cystitis lasts for more than a day or two or you have repeat episodes
  • You are pregnant, as pregnant women are more prone to kidney infections
  • You have blood in your urine
  • You have other symptoms such as vaginal discharge
  • You think your cystitis symptoms could be caused by a sexually transmitted infection

Your doctor will ask you for a sample of urine to find out whether you have an infection and you may be prescribed antibiotics.

  • Post Treatment 

  • Drink at least 3 pints of liquid a day 

  • Pass urine as soon as you need to

  • Empty your bladder completely each time

  • Always wipe your bottom from front to back

  • Avoid perfumed products in the genital area

  • Wash and pass urine before and after sex

  • Use a lubricant when you have penetrative sex 

Click here for a list of agencies you can contact should you require further information or help. 

 If there are any health workers that could help us keep our pages updated please mail us as we are very aware that new research and information is constantly being published on Cystitis. Your help would be much appreciated.

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