Hundreds of you have been leaving messages on the Embarrassing Bodies website about cystitis. It is a very common condition and you’d like to know what you can do about it. Cystitis is basically an inflammation of the bladder. Most commonly it’s caused by an infection but it can also be caused by irritation, damage and friction during sex.
Pain can be a very common symptom with cystitis and it can be agonising. There are a number of things you can do to help including drinking plenty of water to flush out your bladder, but also by taking over the counter painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen. Try and avoid having sex because this can make the pain worse and also aggravate the cystitis.
A lot of you have left messages saying that your treatment for cystitis hasn’t worked and that you’ve still got it. Very often when you come to talk to us, based on your symptoms we’ll simply give you an antibiotic without doing any tests, but sometimes the bug that you have causing your symptoms may not respond, or be killed by the antibiotic. Your GP may need to do a urine test to find out exactly what bug it is, and which antibiotics will be best for you, so do go back and have a chat with them.
A lot of you are asking whether cystitis is linked to sex, and actually yes it is. Sex causes friction and trauma in some cases down below and these can all irritate the bladder, causing symptoms of cystitis. And also the friction of sex can push bacteria into the urethra, which can get into the bladder, causing cystitis. If you want to reduce this always shower before and after sex and try and pee when you’ve finished having sex.
Remember that some symptoms of cystitis can also be symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection, so if you’ve had unprotected sex do go and have a full sexual health screen.
A few of you have left messages complaining that you’ve suffered from blood in your urine and are wondering whether cystitis could be a possible cause. Well it could, bacterial infections can irritate the bladder wall and cause bleeding, but so can a few other things including tumours and bladder stones, so in any case of blood in the urine always get it checked out by your GP.
I’ve noticed that quite a few men are leaving questions about cystitis. Cystitis in men is much more rare and should always be seen by a doctor. Pain during sex and pain on peeing can be a symptom of a sexual infection or a prostate problem, so always get it seen to.
Men and boys should always see a GP if they have cystitis. Women should always see a GP the first time they have it but subsequent times should be able to treat it on their own. Most cystitis will clear up after four or five days but if it’s persisting then go back and see your GP.
Doctor Responses: Cystitis
In this short video, Dr Christian responds to some of your most pressing questions regarding cystitis and related bladder and kidney issues.
The majority of the questions Dr Christian has answered were taken from our cystitis condition guide.
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