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Cystitis

How Can I Prevent Further Attacks?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - 15:08

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Almost all people who have recurring cystitis have nothing seriously wrong. People with more than three bouts a year may need to see a urologist.

Many people who suffer recurring bouts may simply do common things that make them more susceptible. Here are some steps you can take to help prevent cystitis:

  • Urinate frequently. This is the single best prevention.
  • Drink lots of fluids.
  • Women should always wipe front to back.
  • Keep the perineal area clean to avoid spreading bacteria from the anal area to the urethra.
  • Wear underwear made of cotton only-not silk, nylon, or other fabrics.

Don't use:

  • Harsh soaps
  • Bubble baths
  • Feminine hygiene sprays
  • Deodorized tampons
  • Douches
  • Hot tubs that may not be kept clean

Don't wear:

  • Anything tight-fitting for long periods of time. This includes tummy control panties, girdles, stretch pants, or shorts.
  • Underwear made with polyester, nylon, or stretch materials.

It's important to urinate when you feel the need, instead of waiting. Many people hold their urine in, but this is a bad habit. If work interferes with the ability to take a bathroom break, make some adjustments. For example:

  • Teachers who cannot leave the classroom.

    Solution: Ask a neighboring teacher to watch your classroom for a few minutes.

  • Workaholics so absorbed in a project that they forget to go.

    Solution: Keep bottled water by your desk and drink often. Set an alarm to go off every hour or two. Then stop working and go!

Nice To Know:

How the congressmen did it

Filibustering members of Congress solved the "can't go to the bathroom now" problem years ago by rigging up a funnel and tube that connected the urethral opening to a container strapped onto their leg. The whole setup stayed hidden beneath their clothing.

How To Information:

Cystitis and Sexual Intercourse

Nearly all women with recurrent cystitis notice the onset of infection within 24 hours after intercourse. This happens because:

  • Sex can irritate the urethra, allowing bacteria to get inside and move up into the bladder.
  • Many women hold in their urge to urinate after intercourse.

 

To help avoid an attack while enjoying your sexual relationship:

  • Urinate right before and right after having intercourse. Urinating after sex helps wash out bacteria from the urethra.
  • If you use a diaphragm for birth control, be sure to clean it after each use and have your doctor check the fit routinely. The size may need to be changed if you gain or lose weight or if you have a baby. If it is too large, it can push against the neck of the bladder, making it hard to empty the bladder completely. Urinate right before diaphragm insertion and right after its removal.
  • If you use a lubricant when you have intercourse, use one that washes away with water (such as K-Y Jelly, H-R Lubricating Jelly, Surgilube).

Other causes of repeated attacks of cystitis include:

  • Obstruction or blockage. Anything that obstructs or blocks the urinary tract, such as a kidney stone, can lead to repeated attacks of cystitis. Certain tests can detect these conditions. Treating the underlying cause may solve the problem.
  • Injuries. Any damage to the lower back area can affect the nerves connecting to the bladder and make it impossible to empty it completely.

Cystitis