What to do if you think you have cystitis

Cystitis simply means inflammation of the bladder and is a common urinary tract infection (UTI).

Cystitis most commonly affects women, due to the shorter length of the urethra. In this article, we share the common signs and symptoms of cystitis, as well as advice about when to make an appointment with your GP, common treatments and prevention.

Signs and symptoms


Some individuals are more prone to cystitis than others. Image © anetlanda / Adobe Stock.

It’s very easy to detect if you have a bout of cystitis, because you will usually feel a burning or stinging pain when passing urine.

You will also have the urge to pass urine more frequently than normal. Your urine will also be cloudy or dark and may be strong smelling – all signs you have a bladder infection.

You may also feel generally unwell and may even have slight tummy pain.

Do you need to see your GP?

Very often, cystitis can be treated by yourself at home. However, if symptoms are troublesome or persist for a few days, then it is best to see your GP, as you may need a course of antibiotics.

It is important that, if you have a fever, blood in your urine or any abdominal pain, you see your GP. Cystitis is very easy to diagnose with a simple urine test.

Common treatments

Common home remedies include:

  • taking painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen
  • drinking plenty of fluids, such as water and fruit juice

Applying a hot water bottle to your lower abdomen can also help to relieve symptoms.

How to prevent cystitis

Some individuals are more prone to getting cystitis than others, but there are a few things you can try to prevent this type of infection.

Possible prevention methods include:

  • not using perfumed products in your bath
  • having a shower instead of a bath
  • emptying your bladder fully when passing urine and not holding onto urine when you need to go

Keeping well hydrated is also beneficial for the bladder and your general health.

If you do suffer from recurrent bouts of cystitis, it is always best to seek advice from your GP.

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