What is Cystitis?
Almost half of all women in the UK will suffer at least one episode of urinary tract infection once in their lifetime. Cystitis is a common form of urinary tract infection (UTI), and commonly affects women. It is not considered a sexually transmitted infection however being sexually active can increase your chances of contracting it. Whilst it is not a serious cause for concern, it can cause pain and discomfort. Mild cases can get better by themselves.
Although it affects men too, it is more prevalent in females as their urethra is shorter and closer to the anus, so it’s easier for bacteria to cause the infection.
Cystitis usually causes symptoms such as frequent urination (pain etc.), bloody urine (change in colour) and abdominal pain. Cold like symptoms are not uncommon as well as fatigue and nausea.
UTIs disrupt daily lives causing pain, discomfort and inconvenience. The infection typically lasts for 4-9 days.
What causes Cystitis (urine infection)?
To put it simply, UTIs such as Cystitis develop when bacteria infects part of the urinary tract. Bacteria from the digestive system cause most UTIs. They can enter through the urethra or more rarely the bloodstream. This bacteria can move through the urinary tract and cause infection of your urethra, bladder and kidneys.
There is no set cause behind urinary tract infections however risk factors include:
● Being sexually active
● Using a diaphragm for contraception
● Spermicide in condoms
How do I treat urine infection (cystitis)?
Treatment of Cystitis is simple and effective using antibiotics such as Trimethoprim, will more often than not clear the symptoms in a matter of days. In addition to the antibiotic (trimethoprim or nitrofurantoin) you may also use painkillers to relieve symptoms of pain or discomfort.
At Cloud Pharmacy, our pharmacist recommends lifestyle factors that can contribute to easing any symptoms of cystitis. These include staying hydrated to help flush the infection out. There is no evidence to suggest cranberry juice is more effective than other liquids in clearing a UTI; we choose to practice evidence based medicine meaning our treatments are all backed up by research. It is also important to remember to avoid using scented soaps, perfumes or lotions on your vagina. The vagina is very much capable of keeping itself clean and introducing foreign agents such as lotions and soaps etc… will disrupt that flora and increase the risk of getting a UTI. Finally, it is important to remember to urinate after any form of sexual contacts where there is an exchange of fluids. The fluids can mix with bacteria in the rear passage and travel up the urethra, leading to a UTI, urinate straight after helps prevents the bacteria from travelling up the urethra.