Joanne V/O: My name’s Joanne, I’m 28. I’ve been suffering for about 5 years or so. The symptoms are pretty uncomfortable. It kind of flares up after lots of sex.
Dr Pixie: What’s the problem?
Joanne: I’m getting really bad burning sensations down below.
Dr Pixie: OK
Joanne: Kind of constant discomfort in the area.
Dr Pixie: Right
Joanne: Particularly revolving around when I go to the loo and I have to pee. It’s just consistently like that for the moment. I’ve recently started seeing someone new and we are obviously kind of in a honeymoon period and are quite actively sexual and I think it’s flaring up a lot a lot worse than usual.
Dr Pixie: Does it affect you on a day to day basis?
Joanne: Erm… I have had to take a bit of time off work recently and it’s quite embarrassing. I’m calling in and making up excuses really as to why I’m ill, I’ve got a cold, I’ve got the flu, I don’t really want to go into the whole symptoms with my boss.
Dr Pixie: Yeah.
Joanne: So yeah, I’ve had to take a bit of time off.
Dr Pixie: Ok, let’s see if we can get this sorted out for you. If you could just do me a urine specimen that would be fantastic. All right, we’ll just check it and take it from there. The bathroom is just out the door.
Joanne: All right, thank you.
Dr Pixie: So Joanne, what I am going to do is stick a dip stick urine test into this. This will basically test for all the things that shouldn’t be in a normal, healthy urine…Now, my god, that’s changing colour already. I mean, literally, the top test should change within 2 minutes and yours has changed instantly.
Dr Pixie: So that indicates you’ve got white blood cells in your urine which are infection cells. You’ve also got some blood in your urine and some protein in your urine. None of these things should be in your urine. So, I think it’s pretty straight forward, you’ve got cystitis.
Dr Pixie V/O: Cystitis occurs when the lining of the bladder becomes inflamed, usually as a result of bacterial infection. Pain, burning and stinging sensations when passing urine are all common symptoms. It can affect both sexes but it’s much more common in women with up to 40% of women getting it in their lifetime.
Dr Pixie: Don’t worry; we’ll give you a course of antibiotics for 5 days. Now, I’m sure you’re thinking ‘God is this going to come back again’. There are things that you can do to prevent this from coming back again and one of the triggers is sex.
Dr Pixie: So what you need to do is get all the urine out of your bladder before you have intercourse and you also need to pee after intercourse. The other thing is eliminate triggers like tea, coffee and alcohol. Yeah, all the things you like, sex, tea, coffee and alcohol. Try if at all possible not to wear tights and not to wear sexy underwear.
Dr Pixie: So back to you Bridget Jones underwear.
Joanne: (Laughing ) The boyfriend will be very pleased. Great, thanks for your advice and help.
Dr Pixie: Your very welcome. See you soon. Bye bye.
Joanne: Bye for now.
Cystitis can affect anyone but it seems to particulary plague women (the excessive amounts of cranberry juice they drink usually gives them away). Around 40% of women will get cystitis (an inflammation of the lining of the bladder) in their lifetime and it can be quite painful. Dr Pixie McKenna is on hand to diagnose the condition and provide helpful tips on preventing cystitis in this consultation that featured in series one of Embarrassing Illnesses.
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