Cystitis is the most common form of Urinary Tract Infection. Women tend to get cystitis more frequently than men. In fact, 50% of women* will experience cystitis at least once in their lifetime – lucky us! It can be very be unpleasant and includes symptoms like needing to urinate more often. Some more severe symptoms may include a burning sensation when passing urine, fever and chills, nausea and vomiting. Look out for blood in your urine or if it is strong smelling, cloudy or dark coloured.
Cystitis is usually the result of a bacterial infection, but it can also be caused by irritation or damage from chemicals in bubble baths and soaps or even chemotherapy drugs. There are ways that you can prevent cystitis, and we wanted to help our fellow DIVINISTAs out by sharing them.
Drink Plenty of Liquids (Especially Water)
Drinking 6-8 glasses of water, not only hydrates you, but it also increases the odds that you will be running to the bathroom. You will likely urinate more forcefully, helping to flush the bacteria in your bladder before an infection has a chance to set in.
Don’t Use Anything Scented On Your Lady Bits
We know that you love vanilla or strawberry scented shower gels, but your genitals do not. You should also avoid bubble baths, feminine deodorant sprays, perfumed soaps and douches. Scented panty liners, pads and tampons should also be avoided. Your vagina actually cleans itself so it doesn’t need any extra help. Most doctors recommend using water only or very gentle, mild soap to clean your vulva. A good rule of thumb is that if it has fragrance or dyes, it’s not meant for south of your belly button.
Take Showers Rather Than Baths
When you bathe, you are sitting in water that is likely soapy or filled with bubble bath. This means that you have a greater chance for the bacteria and harsh chemicals from your bubble bath to get inside of your urethra. If you really must take a bath, use natural, gentle soap and try to take them infrequently. Showers are far better for you.
Don’t Hold It In
The old saying is “if you gotta go, you gotta go” or “if you feel the urge, purge”. You need to flush out the bacteria that is in your urethra frequently. It helps you avoid cystitis. You may not want to leave during the best part of a movie or hit that pause button when you are binge-watching your favourite shows, but your bladder will thank you.
Empty Your Bladder After Sexual Intercourse
Women can develop cystitis following sexual intercourse**. The movement from sex may push bacteria up your urethra. When you urinate after sex, you again, flush bacteria from your system. You can still enjoy the afterglow once you go. Trust us.
Wipe From Front to Back When you Go to The Loo
Quick anatomy lesson – your anus is close to the opening of your urethra. The anus harbours gastro-intestinal bacteria including E. coli. When you wipe from back to front, you risk transferring the bacteria which can cause cystitis. Wiping front to back may not 100% eliminate the risk, but it can help lower it.
If you are one of the 50% of women that will get cystitis, then it is important to see your doctor. In the meantime, Cystoplus can relieve the uncomfortable symptoms. Proudly Canadian, Cystoplus is a non-prescription option specifically indicated for the symptomatic relief of the burning pain and stinging associated with urinary bladder inflammation (cystitis) in adult women. It works by using sodium citrate, an alkalizing agent, to decrease the acidity of the urine. You can even continue to take it if you are taking an antibiotic prescribed by your doctor. Do what you can do to prevent cystitis, but remember, if you do get it, you can treat it and ease your symptoms and if you suspect cystitis, please consult a doctor immediately.
*In partnership with Cystoplus
*Colgan–Diagnosis and Treatment of Acute Uncomplicated Cystitis – The American Family Physician 2011
**Van Schoor - Therapeutic use of alkalinising agents in the pharmacy – 2010