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Cystitis

What Can I Do To Get Better?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - 15:09

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Older people, pregnant women, and people with diabetes should seek medical care as soon as symptoms of cystitis appear.

For others, simple bouts of cystitis often disappear on their own within a day or two, especially if they take certain steps to take care of themselves.

What you need to do

When Should I Seek Medical Help?

How To Information:

What you need to do

Increase fluids

Going often to the bathroom helps wash bacteria out of the infected bladder. To keep the bladder full, drink plenty of water or other kinds of fluid. Avoid alcohol and coffee, which can irritate the bladder.

Here's more about fluids:

  • Drink 10 ounces of fluid every half-hour until the burning goes away.
  • Drink cranberry or blueberry juice. Studies show that drinking these juices helps rid the bladder of infection more quickly. Both juices also help prevent attacks of cystitis.
  • Increase vitamin C intake. Oranges, pineapples, tomatoes, and leafy green vegetables are good sources.
  • If the acidity of the above juices and fruits can't be tolerated, add baking soda (one teaspoon) to 10 ounces of fluid. Drink this two or three times a day.
  • After burning disappears, continue drinking 10 ounces of fluid every hour for two to three more days.

Try pain relievers

If pain is severe and continues after trying these steps, painkillers may help relieve symptoms. One kind, called phenazopyridine, is often used specifically to relieve painful urination. It requires a prescription.

Urinate frequently

Wash the bacteria out of your bladder by going to the bathroom every hour or so:

  • Relax and let your bladder empty completely.
  • In women, always wipe from front to back to avoid bringing new germs from the bowel area up to the opening of the urethra.

Clean carefully after a bowel movement

After having a bowel movement, women should wash the entire area carefully with warm soap and water. Be careful not to drag germs from the bowel area to the urethral opening.

  • Use one set of clean cloths for the anal area and another set for cleaning around the urethral opening and vagina.
  • Wash, rinse, and pat the anal area dry with the first clean set. Put these cloths into the laundry.
  • Use the second clean set to wash, rinse, and pat dry the area from your urethral opening back to the vaginal opening. Put these cloths into the laundry.

To launder the cloths:

  • Set the washer at its hottest setting and wash both sets of dirty cloths together.
  • Add the recommended amount of detergent.
  • Add the recommended amount of bleach.
  • Dry the cloths on the dryer's hottest setting.

Following these steps essentially kills all germs on any dirty or contaminated cloth or clothing.

When Should I Seek Medical Help?

In general, if symptoms get worse despite self-care or do not improve within a day or two, contact your doctor or clinic.

Seek immediate medical care if you have the following conditions:

  • Diabetes. Diabetes puts people with cystitis at risk for serious kidney infection.
  • Pregnancy.

Also seek medical care if you have:

  • Fever over 101 degrees
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe lower back pain right below the rib cage
  • Blood or pus in the urine
  • Uncommon vaginal discharge

Any of the following conditions also indicate a need to obtain medical care:

  • History of heart or lung problems
  • History of kidney stones, kidney infections, or urologic surgery
  • The last bladder infection was within the last two months
  • More than three bladder infections have occurred during the past year
  • Menopause has ended

Cystitis