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Information about cystitis symptoms and triggers

Cystitis (urinary tract infection) is an infection of the bladder which is caused mostly by bacteria, but can also develop as the result of vigorous sexual intercourse. It's not likely to lead to serious complications, but those who have to deal with the uncomfortable symptoms often can find it bothersome and disruptive. In some cases, if cystitis isn't treated, it can result in a kidney infection. It's thought that the infection mostly affects women, but it can also affect men and a cystitis infection in men can sometimes be a sign of a more serious issue.

Often over-the-counter treatments are recommended for cystitis and can sufficiently treat an infection, but sometimes a stronger prescription method such as Trimethoprim might be recommended. Trimethoprim is available from OnlineClinic, but we ask all our patients to complete a confidential consultation form when they place their order, so that our registered doctor can ensure that it's safe to use.

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    What can cause cystitis symptoms?

    Many different irritants and conditions could lead to a cystitis infection. However, most people get the infection because they don't empty their bladder completely, bacteria (in particular anal bacteria) gets introduced to the urinary tract or simply because of vigorous sexual intercourse. Women often tend to be quite sensitive to the effect of fragranced body washes or tight clothing and eliminating these factors can help reduce the chances of developing an infection.

    It's also possible for urinary tract infections to be a symptom of a more serious condition, such as diabetes, a kidney infection or prostatitis (men).

    What cystitis symptoms are most common?

    If you have a urinary tract infection, you are most likely experiencing an urgent need to urinate, pain when you urinate or a stinging sensation during urination. It's also possible that you might notice some blood in your urine, aches in your lower abdomen, backache or malaise (feeling unwell). These cystitis symptoms can usually only take a few days to go away, but they can be very uncomfortable.

    Who is most likely to get cystitis symptoms?

    Cystitis most commonly affects adult women, but it's also possible for children and men to get the infection. If you are women and you are experiencing symptoms for the first time, you'll have to visit your doctor to get a diagnosis; this should also be the procedure if you experience regular infections. Infections in children and men should always be reported to a doctor, as there might be a risk of another underlying condition.

    Can cystitis symptoms be avoided?

    Unless cystitis is caused as the result of another condition, it's possible that there are steps that can be taken to avoid outbreaks of cystitis. Experts say that wearing cotton underwear, having showers instead of baths, not using perfumed body wash, wiping front to back if you are a woman and avoiding tight clothing can all lessen your risk of getting cystitis symptoms. If you are women you may also want to review your contraceptive method. It's also a good idea to wash your genitals and hands before and after sex.

    It's good for your general health to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, as this can be beneficial in preventing a cystitis infection by keeping urine less acidic. There may also be a preventative benefit to drinking cranberry juice; however drinking too many acidic fruit juices and coffee is believed to trigger an infection.

    Is it dangerous?

    Most cystitis infections can go away without requiring any kind of treatment, but sometimes they can worsen and lead to a kidney infection without treatment. A bladder infection can be a symptom of a more serious condition, such as an STI (sexually transmitted infection), thrush or diabetes. If this is the case, further treatment may be required and you should report to your doctor to discuss any recurrent or unusual cases.

    How can it be treated?

    Many women use home remedies to help treat cystitis, such as drinking water or cranberry juice, although it's not been scientifically proven as a cystitis treatment. In conjunction with any home remedies, experts recommend paracetamol to help with any discomfort until you feel better. If you think that vigorous sex may be the cause of your infection, you might want to avoid sex for a while, as this could help speed up the recovery process. Should you find that your infection isn't going away or you have a recurrent infection that doesn't have any other condition as its cause, antibiotics can help provide timely relief.