C is for Cystitis
[Greek, kystis + itis, inflammation]
Cystitis is inflammation of the bladder, usually caused by a bladder infection. Although it is not specifically a reproductive health problem it can occur following surgeries or treatments for other reproductive health problems.
It is a common type of urinary tract infection (UTI), particularly in women. Mild cases will usually improve by themselves within a few days. In some cases episodes of cystitis can occur more frequently and may need regular or long-term treatment.
Cystitis can lead to a more serious kidney infection in some cases, so it’s important to seek medical advice if your symptoms don’t improve.
- Pain, burning or stinging when you pee
- An urgent or frequent need to pee
- Feeling the need to pee after you have already been to the toilet
- Dark, cloudy or strong smelling urine
- Lower abdomen pain
- Feeling unwell, tired or achy
- Blood in your urine
- In adults, cystitis doesn’t usually cause a high temperature (fever). If you have a temperature of 38C (100.4F) or above and pain in your lower back or sides, it may be a sign of a kidney infection.
Cystitis will usually clear up on its own over a few days. There a few things which are recommended to help relieve some of the symptoms.
- Take over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen – always read the medicine information leaflet beforehand to check whether you can take it and check with your pharmacist if you’re not sure
- Drink a health amount of water – it is believed that this may help flush the infection out of your bladder and some people find it helpful, although there is no clear evidence to prove this
- Use a hot water bottle – this can help to reduce discomfort and pain around the stomach caused by cystitis
- Try not to have sex until you’re feeling better, because it may make it worse
It has been suggested that drinking cranberry juice or using products that reduce the acidity of your urine (such as sodium bicarbonate or potassium citrate) can reduce symptoms, but there is not enough evidence to determine how effective these are.
Cystitis can also be treated effectively with a short dose of antibiotics provided by your GP.
Don’t fancy reading? Watch this video for an audio visual look at cystitis