Cystitis is a distressing condition caused by an infection and/or inflammation of the bladder. Cystitis will occur in 4 out of 5 women at least once in their lifetime, so it is a very common complaint. Cystitis can occur in men and children but not as often. It is a good idea to get any cases of cystitis in men or children checked by your GP.
Many women come into our pharmacy unsure if they are suffering from cystitis. So how do you know if you have cystitis? Well symptoms usually include but are not limited to;
A sharp stinging sensation on passing water
An urge to pass water more frequently
Darker urine than normal or bleeding in the urine
A high body temperature and general tiredness
Many women ask why they end up with cystitis. There are two types of cystitis: Bacterial cystitis and non-bacterial cystitis. Bacterial cystitis is usually caused by bacteria left after a bowel movement ending up in the bladder. This can occur during sex or after the bathroom. The best way to prevent this occurring is to always ensure you urinate after sex. It is also important to ensure that after a bowel movement you wipe from front to back to ensure bacteria does not spread to the vagina.
Non-bacterial cystitis on the other hand is caused by triggers such as harsh soaps, deodorants and tight trousers.
If a patient hasn’t tried anything yet and the cystitis has just started in the previous few days, I usually advise CYSTOPURIN sachets to give fast and effective relief from the symptoms of mild cystitis.
It works by reducing the amount of acid in the urine by making it more alkaline and so reducing the burning sensation caused by that acid.
The course should be started at the first sign of an attack and should be continued for 48 hours (one sachet in a glass of water every 8 hours), to have full effect, even if the patient feels better after only a few hours.
The drink, when made up is a pleasant, clear citrus flavoured drink.
However, if you have ongoing symptons or if you see blood in your urine then you should call into your pharmacist or GP.
There are other measures that can help prevent cystitis occurring. I have mentioned that it is important to urinate after sex and follow appropriate hygiene after bowel movements. It can also be helpful to wear cotton underwear and to avoid tight trousers. It may also be beneficial to avoid harsh soaps or shower gels. You can buy pH balanced intimate washes in your local pharmacy. These are soap and fragrance free, gynaecologically tested and enriched with vitamin E, so won’t cause intimate irritation. They can be used daily in the shower, to keep you feeling fresh. Brands such as Vagisil are widely available.
You may also find cranberry capsules can relieve symptoms and prevent further episodes of cystitis. Cranberry used to be used to treat cystitis because people believed it acidified the urine but we now know Cranberry works by inhibiting bacteria sticking to the walls of the bladder. Cranberry also contains hippuric acid which is known to be an antibacterial agent. Unlike cranberry juice, cranberry tablets do not contain sugar. They are commonly available in pharmacies and usually contain 200mg of Cranberry extract which is equivalent to a whooping 5000mg of Cranberry juice.
It is also important to drink loads of water and urinate frequently when suffering from cystitis. I would also recommend you should avoid alcohol, fruit juices, coffee and strong tea. If you need more advice call into your local pharmacy and they will help you out.