Cystitis is an unpleasant UTI (urinary tract infection) that can strike without warning. If you suffer from repeated bouts of cystitis, your doctor may refer you to a specialist urology clinic. However, there are some preventative measures you could try on your own that might help to control the condition. Read on to find out more.
What causes cystitis?
Cystitis is caused by bacteria found in the rectum, usually E. coli. The condition affects both sexes, although women are more commonly afflicted.
Cystitis can be triggered by a number of things, including these:
- bath additives and soaps
- tightly-fitting, synthetic underwear, especially thongs
The signs and symptoms of cystitis include the following:
- a frequent strong desire to urinate
- cloudy or foul-smelling urine
- a severe burning sensation during urination
- the sensation of a full bladder, but no urine
There are a number of simple ways in which you can prevent cystitis.
- When visiting the toilet, ladies should always wipe from front to back, never the other way around. This prevents bacteria from being transferred from the anus to the urethra, where an infection and cystitis could develop. Gents have the advantage of 'external plumbing' and don't generally experience this particular problem.
- When choosing underwear, always go for cotton fabric. Cotton is more breathable than synthetics and consequently discourages the growth of bacteria. Thongs should be avoided, as these can provide a 'walkway' for anal bacteria to migrate forward.
- Regularly eating 'live' yoghurt containing lactobacillus acidophilus can help to rebalance the bacterial flora in the gut, reducing the likelihood of harmful bacteria proliferating there.
- Drink plenty of fresh water throughout the day to help flush any lingering bacteria out of your urinary system. In addition, it's recommended that you urinate when you first feel the need to go rather than holding it in, potentially harbouring bacteria.
- Avoid using heavily perfumed soaps or bubble baths that could upset the delicate balance of acidity and alkalinity on the skin around the vagina or penis, encouraging bacteria to flourish.
- Cranberry juice is thought to contain chemicals that help prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall, thus helping to stop attacks of cystitis. Drinking a glass of unsweetened cranberry juice every day may be helpful if you are prone to cystitis attacks.
- If you feel the beginnings of an attack of cystitis, try drinking a glass of water containing a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda every half hour. This will flush out the bladder and can often prevent the condition from developing.
Following these simple guidelines can help to ward off attacks of cystitis. If the problem does not resolve itself within a few hours, you should consult your doctor. Repeated incidences of cystitis could be indicative of more serious problems, and your doctor will probably refer you to a specialist urology clinic for tests.