Put simply, cystitis occurs when you suffer bladder inflammation – usually the result of a bladder infection. Cystitis is one of the more common kinds of urinary tract infection, or UTI, and it occurs a lot more often in women than in men.

Although generally quite a mild condition, with most cases righting themselves within a few days, it can require long term treatment if someone suffers from the condition regularly. There’s also a chance the condition could lead to kidney infection in more serious cases.

What are the symptoms of cystitis?

As with most infections, there are symptoms to look out for. These include feeling the need to urinate more often than normal and producing urine which is darker, cloudier or stronger smelling than usual. You may also experience burning, pain and stinging when you urinate and pain in the lower part of your stomach. General nausea, achiness and lethargy are also common.

In young children, further symptoms sometimes present themselves. These include vomiting, lack of appetite, irritability and a temperature of over 38 degrees centigrade.

Although cases often get better on their own, it’s important to know when to seek medical guidance. If you’re not sure whether you have cystitis, you get it frequently, your symptoms are severe, your symptoms don’t improve after a few days or if you’re a man, child or pregnant woman with symptoms, you should turn to a professional for advice and treatment.

What causes cystitis?

The urethra is the tube which carries urine out of the body. Most cases of cystitis are caused when the bacteria that reside harmlessly in your bowel or on your skin manage to find their way into your bladder through the urethra. Although relatively benign in other parts of the body, these bacteria are more troublesome in the urinary tract.

This shift in bacteria can occur through several different means, and the true cause isn’t always completely clear. However, there are some common causes which have been identified in women. These include sexual intercourse, wiping your bottom from back to front after going to the toilet, using a diaphragm as a form of contraception and the insertion of a tampon or urinary catheter.

One of the reasons that women suffer from cystitis more often than men is because the urethra is much shorter, meaning bacteria can access the bladder more easily.

How can you prevent cystitis?

There are some precautionary actions you can take to make you less likely to suffer from the infection.

These include opting for showers over baths, as this means your lower regions aren’t exposed to chemicals and bacteria in the water for as long. You can also stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water, avoid perfumed bath and shower products, wear underwear made from cotton rather than synthetic material and avoid using a diaphragm as your chosen contraception.

You should also go to the toilet as soon as you feel the urge, especially after sexual intercourse.

How do you treat cystitis?

If you visit your GP due to a case of cystitis, you’ll most likely be given antibiotics to treat the infection. If you’re treating the condition at home, you’re advised to take paracetamol or ibuprofen, stay hydrated, use a hot water bottle and avoid sexual intercourse until your symptoms clear.

Medication such as trimethoprim is effective for clearing cystitis and other UTIs, as it helps kill off the bacteria causing the infection. This is available from Express Pharmacy as a short course medication of twice a day for three days.

If you’re in need of medical guidance, contact Express Pharmacy today. You can use our discreet Live Chat service or call us on 0208 123 0703.