Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder. It is most common in women but can also affect men and children.
What is cystitis?
It can happen any time and it can also be provoked by sexual intercourse. The bacteria involved is usually E. Coli, which lives in the bowel.
Cystitis can also be caused by:
- sexually transmitted infections
- radiation medications
- some medications
- some chemicals found in bubble baths and spermicides.
Cystitis symptoms and diagnosis
The main symptoms of cystitis are:
- feeling pain or burning when urinating
- needing to urinate often
- passing only small amounts of urine each time
- a dull ache in the abdomen
- urine that smells, or looks cloudy or bloody.
It’s important to see a doctor if you think you may have cystitis. If not treated, it can lead to kidney infection. To diagnose cystitis, your doctor may ask for a urine sample. This test can also help find out which antibiotic is best for treatment.
Cystitis treatment and self-care
Treatment for cystitis usually includes antibiotics, rest and drinking plenty of water. Other things you can do to help relieve the symptoms of cystitis are:
- adding a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to a glass of water and drinking it
- having a warm bath, lying in a warm bed, or applying a hot water bottle or wheat bag on your back or abdomen
- taking painkillers such as paracetamol, if you are in pain.
Things that may help prevent getting cystitis include:
- drinking lots of water
- urinating as soon as you feel the need
- urinating straight after sex
- showering at least daily
- wearing cotton underpants (not nylon)
- making sure you always wipe yourself from front to back after urinating.
Last reviewed: December 2015