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Cystitis: Everything You Need to Know

Andrew Bellingham

Andrew Bellingham

Pharmacist | 20+ Years | BPharm | Dip Clin Pharm

What is Cystitis?

Cystitis is a common urinary tract infection (UTI) that occurs when the bladder becomes inflamed or infected. It can affect people of all ages, but it is more common in women than in men. Cystitis can cause discomfort and pain, and if left untreated, can lead to more serious complications.

Symptoms of Cystitis

Cystitis symptoms can vary in severity, and can include: 

  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Passing small amounts of urine frequently 
  • Cloudy, dark or strong-smelling urine
  • Pelvic pain or discomfort
  • Blood in your urine

It can be difficult to spot cystitis in children, so keep an eye out of for these symptoms: 

  • Fever of 38c or above
  • Reduced appetite 
  • Vomiting
  • Wetting themselves
  • Weak and tired
  • Irritable

Causes of Cystitis

Cystitis is often caused by a bacterial infection, with germs from the digestive system getting into the urinary tract. 

It’s much more common in women than men, because their urethras are closer to the anus.

Though the cause is not always clear, things that increase the chance of bacterial infection include: 

  • Having sex
  • Wiping your bottom back-to-front
  • Certain types of birth control, such as spermicidal agents and diaphragms
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause
  • Medical conditions that affect the urinary tract, like kidney stones or an enlarged prostate 
  • Use of a urinary catheter

How to Prevent & Treat Cystitis

If you’re experiencing symptoms of cystitis, here are some things you can do at home to feel better:

  • Drink plenty of water to help flush out the bacteria causing the infection
  • Take over-the-counter pain relief medications, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, to help manage discomfort
  • Use a heating pad or hot water bottle on the lower abdomen to ease pain
  • Try herbal remedies such as cranberry juice or tablets


If you have been getting cystitis quite frequently, then try following these tips to prevent getting infected again: 

  • Wipe from front to back after using the toilet to avoid spreading bacteria from the anus to the urethra
  • Urinate after sexual activity to help flush out any bacteria that may have entered the urethra
  • Avoid holding urine for long periods of time
  • Take showers instead of baths

Mild cases of cystitis can often resolve on their own within a few days, but occasionally antibiotics may be required.

You should visit your GP if: 

  • Your symptoms have not improved after a few days
  • You have severe symptoms, such as severe pain or blood in your urine
  • You get cystitis frequently
  • You have symptoms of cystitis and you’re pregnant
  • You have symptoms of cystitis and you’re a man

Get Better with Healthera

If you’ve already seen your GP and you’d like to place your prescription order online from your local pharmacy, simply open up your Healthera app by clicking the button below.

You can also find over-the-counter remedies by navigating to the “Pharmacy Shop” for collection and home delivery.

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