Medical Q&As

Cystitis - treatment?

I have cystitis at the moment and I am drinking plenty of water and cranberry juice. Is it necessary to get an antibiotic or can I just keep taking liquids to cure it. I am also taking a painkiller, which eases the pain, and burning sensation. I am just afraid if I have an infection it might not cure itself and I might get it again. I do not suffer from cystitis as a rule.

Cystitis means inflammation of the bladder. It is a very common complaint and most women will experience an episode of cystitis at some time in their lives. The female anatomy renders women particularly susceptible to this form of infection. The approach that you are currently taking is reasonable and in many cases increasing fluid intake and drinking cranberry juice can arrest the problem without needing to resort to the use of antibiotics. However, if symptoms persist for a few days or if symptoms increase then you should see your GP who will most likely prescribe an antibiotic for you. In order to prevent cystitis it is recommended that women wipe themselves from front to back when attending to personal hygiene in the bath, shower or after urination or defaecation. For those who are sexually active it is also suggested that a woman should empty her bladder before and after intercourse. It is also important to avoid constipation because a loaded colon can affect the bladder’s ability to empty, which in turn can lead to cystitis. I note your comment that you do not as a rule suffer from cystitis but if you did it would be appropriate to be investigated to establish if there were an underlying abnormality that was creating a predisposition to recurrent cystitis.