Cystitis is a common and uncomfortable infection that affects the urinary tract and bladder. Most women will get it at least once in their lifetime.
It's usually caused by the bacteria E.coli entering the urethra, causing inflammation of the bladder. Symptoms of cystitis include a constant need to urinate, a stinging sensation whilst urinating, cloudy or smelly urine, and pain in the lower abdomen.
While it usually goes away on its own after a few days, there are a number of things you can do to try to help speed up the healing process and get things back to normal.
Firstly, it's worth understanding how cystitis is caused in order to understand how to avoid it. It's far easier to avoid getting cystitis than to get rid of it.
Read more: How To Prevent Cystitis
If you have unfortunately contracted cystitis regardless, you can try the following.
As cystitis is most commonly caused by bacteria inside the urethra, removing or “flushing out” the bacteria in order to rid yourself of infection is the first step.
This includes drinking plenty of water throughout the day, as well as emptying the bladder fully. Avoid waiting to urinate as this can allow the bacteria to multiply and prolong the infection.
Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lessen pain caused by the inflammation of the bladder.
If you are suffering worse symptoms that are worrying you, such as blood in your urine or a high fever, or your condition hasn't improved after a few days, it's important to visit your GP as you may need an antibiotic such as Trimethoprim.
Always wipe front to back after going to the toilet to avoid spreading further germs and bacteria from the anus into your urethra.
Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly with anti-bacterial soap.
When showering, avoid using perfumed products like shower gels which may cause irritation.
Wear loose fitting clothing, particularly at night, to help your intimate areas breathe and avoid trapping moisture.
There are a few lifestyle alterations that should assist with clearing the infection faster:
Read more: How to ease Cystitis at night?
While you're on the mend, you'll need to find ways to manage the pain of cystitis.
A hot water bottle on the abdomen should provide some relief. Taking a hot shower can also be comforting, though avoid using any products like soaps on your intimate areas.
A short walk may help ease the pain, though try to avoid anything too strenuous while you're healing.