cystitis treatment


cystitis treatmentCystitis 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.

colds and flu treatments

Colds and Flu

treatment for common coldIt’s coming to that time of year again! The clocks have just changed, the fires are being lit and we leave work in darkness. Winter comes every year but yet we are still somehow surprised when we start sniffling. Working in a pharmacy; with winter comes the avalanche of coughs, colds and flu symptoms.

Firstly it is important to know what the symptoms of a cold are and how they differ from flu. Flu is a viral infection which tends to come on rapidly. It usually means you feel symptoms in your whole body. It can be really serious and leave you exhausted even after you recover. On the other hand a cold tends to come on over a few hours or days. A cold usually just affects your head whereas flu affects your whole body.

The symptoms of cold and flu include runny/blocked nose, sneezing/coughing, aches and pains, high temperature and sore throat. The treatment is the same for each condition regardless. Colds and flu generally last for about 7 days at most. The treatment is the same for each condition regardless. Colds and flu generally last for about 7 days at most. Both infections are caused by viruses so antibiotics have no effect. However colds and flu can lead to secondary infections such as sinus infections or chest infections and these may need antibiotic treatment by your GP. Your pharmacist can help you differentiate between viral symptoms and bacterial infections.

Your pharmacist can help you treat the symptoms of both a cold and flu. If you have a temperature or aches and pains, paracetamol or ibuprofen can help. Anti-histamines will help with sneezing or a runny nose. However some cold and flu remedies containing antihistamines can cause drowsiness so caution should be used. Decongestants can relieve a blocked nose but can increase your blood pressure so shouldn’t be taken if you have heart problems. Also decongestants can have a stimulant effect so shouldn’t be taken before bedtime. There are also nasal sprays that can relieve congestion but these should only be used for 5-7 days.

You can end up with post nasal drip when you have a blocked nose which may result in a sore throat or a cough. Throat sprays and lozenges can relieve a painful throat. There are many cough bottles available, some of which just suppress a dry cough and some loosen phlegm from the chest to help relieve a chesty cough.

You can prevent yourself getting and then spreading the flu by taking simple precautions such as covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with hand wash or alcoholic hand gel. A flu vaccine will also help to protect you from the most common flu viruses. It is also very important to keep you immune system boosted throughout the winter. Vitamin C, Zinc and Echinacea have all been shown to be beneficial in boosting the immune system.

Child with chickenpox

Chicken Pox

Child with chickenpoxFor all you parents who have yet to experience chickenpox, this post is for you.

Everyone has heard of Chickenpox but yet it is still hard to determine if that is what is going on with your child. Chickenpox is a highly contagious illness that is common in children. It causes an itching skin rash with blisters. The disease is caused by the varicella-zoster virus and usually runs its course without problems.

Chickenpox in children usually starts with a slight fever and feeling unwell, sometimes with mild flu-like symptoms. A rash then appears in patches, usually behind the ears, under the arms, on the chest and stomach, and the arms and legs.

Patients often ask me how Chickenpox is spread between children. It is a viral infection that can be spread by direct contact with broken chickenpox blisters and by droplets in the air. People often think that their child is only infectious from the day they see the rash but in fact the infectious period starts about three days before the rash appears and lasts until all the blisters have formed scabs.

A child may not actually show symptoms for 10-20 days after being infected with the Chickenpox. The rash usually begins on the body and face and later spreads to the scalp and limbs and it is often itchy. When you first notice the rash you will probably see small red spots which develop into blisters in a couple of hours.

Your child may also have a high temperature as their body fights off the virus. You can usually treat the child at home but if you see the rash spread to inside the mouth or to the genitals then further advice should be gotten in your pharmacy or GPs. Chickenpox in children usually last 7-10 days but can last longer in adults.

Chickenpox is rare but usually much more serious in adults. You may have a high temperature, aches and pains and a headache a day or so before the rash appears.

Once you’ve had chickenpox you develop lifelong immunity to it. It’s rare to catch chickenpox again occasionally some people with a weak immune system may have a very mild re-infection (often without any symptoms).

While Chickenpox is usually self-limiting, it may be necessary to bring your child to the pharmacy or GP if their fever lasts longer than 4 days, they have trouble breathing, a severe headache or if they have any difficulty walking or they are vomiting. The sores can become infected and then would need antibiotic treatment.

However all this is of little comfort to parents who are trying to deal with a very upset and uncomfortable child. Call into your local pharmacy and get some advice to make the next week more bearable for you all. You may find that using Calamine lotion on the rash will help calm it down. Sometimes I find using Calamine from the fridge can give greater relief.

There is also a lotion called Eurax which contains an anti-itch ingredient called Crotamiton which can be used in children older than 3 years of age. Your child will probably have a temperature or pain so giving Calpol or other Paracetamol medications will also help.