Every year, an estimated four million UK women suffer from cystitis, one of the most common urinary tract infections (UTI). One third of these women are younger than 24 years old.[1]

But what exactly is cystitis, and is there any relation to the food you eat and the severity of your symptoms?

What is cystitis?

Many women will have experienced a UTI like cystitis at some point in their lives. Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder, usually caused by an infection. It can last several days and can result in significant discomfort.[2]

Symptoms of cystitis may include:

  • Pain when urinating
  • A frequent, urgent need to go to the toilet
  • Dark, cloudy or strong-smelling urine
  • Blood in the urine
  • Lower stomach pain
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Confusion[3]

How does diet impact cystitis?

No research specifically links certain foods to causing or remedying a UTI. However, some people with cystitis find that certain foods are drinks can act as triggers for symptoms. Most common among these are coffee, soda, alcohol, tomatoes, hot and spicy foods, other caffeinated beverages, chocolate, fruit juices and MSG.[4]

Likewise, some people find that certain foods and drinks help to alleviate symptoms, but again these can differ from person to person. Most importantly, you should aim to eat in moderation and enjoy a balanced diet. Eating a range of healthy food from all different food groups is important for your overall health, including your bladder health.

Drinking plenty of water is key when suffering with a urinary tract infection. This helps to replace the fluids lost by the frequent toilet trips brought on by the infection. It can also help speed up the process of flushing out the infection.[5]

Common misconceptions about cystitis

One of the most commonly shared remedies for cystitis is cranberry juice, but research from Yale University suggests that this is an urban myth. The belief is that a compound in cranberries called proanthocyanin is able to inhibit the growth of the infection, but the study found that cranberries had little to no impact on the condition.[6]

It may just be that drinking lots of cranberry juice is only as beneficial as drinking plenty of any fluid.

Alleviating a UTI

As well as monitoring your diet, there are simple measures you can put in place in order to help prevent cystitis from occurring. These include:

  • Having a shower rather than a bath
  • Not using perfumed cleaning products
  • Staying well hydrated
  • Going to the toilet as soon as you feel the need
  • Wearing cotton rather than synthetic underwear[7]

However, curing an existing case of cystitis usually requires a course of antibiotics. Studies have shown cystitis medication like Trimethoprim to be 94% effective in alleviating a UTI within a week.[8]

Safe and effective cystitis medication like Trimethoprim is available right here at Express Pharmacy. Speak to one of our experts today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet Live Chat service.

[1] Cox, D. Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about urinary tract infections. The Guardian. 2017

[2] NHS UK. Cystitis. 2018

[3] Bupa UK. Cystitis. 2018

[4] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Can what I eat or drink relieve or prevent IC? 2017

[5] Urology Care Foundation. Effect of Diet on Interstitial Cystitis. 2016

[6] Juthani-Mehta, M. MD. et al. Effect of Cranberry Capsules on Bacteriuria Plus Pyuria Among Old Women in Nursing Homes. JAMA. 2016

[7] NHS UK. Cystitis. 2018

[8] Osterberg, E. Efficacy of single-dose versus seven-day trimethoprim treatment of cystitis in women: a randomized double-blind study. Journal of Infectious Diseases. 1990