This is all about the personal experience and this is something I have definitely had too much experience of. Cystitis is the inflammation of the bladder due to infection or an irritation. Sadly, as I know, it is much more common in women than it is in men or children. Some of the causes make cystitis seem more preventable, for example with an increased frequency of sex, bathing and hygiene products or just a carelessness in your personal hygiene downstairs can also cause this if you aren't careful. There are also more health related reasons as to why you may contract cystitis, for example if you have diabetes, the sugar in your urine can encourage bacteria to grow, or bladder and kidney stones can also make urination painful/impossible. I am writing this review as I have suffered with this on a number of occasions and I have bought countless cystitis drink mixes, so I may as well share the pain and make a tiny bit of money to cover the massive costs of sachets that I have incurred over the last few years.
After having had it countless times, you know as soon as you have it again that you are in for a rough few days. The most common symptom is pain or burning when passing water, although another common symptom for me is the need to carry on peeing due to a desperate sensation followed by a sharp pain when my body decides that it has finished. Frequency of urination can also increase greatly; one time at work I went 4 or 5 times in 2 hours. Your urine can look abnormal in colour or smell, it could be cloudy or you could even have blood in it, which is always a scary prospect. You can also have a general feeling of being ill, but I have also experienced lower back pain a lot.
As I write this, I am currently in another bout of cystitis and it is not good. It kicked off one morning with that burning pain and by the end of that one day at work I was passing blood, bright red, no idea how concentrated it was but I was so scared. Self diagnosis online is never a good idea, but I like to know my most likely options, with everything from severe infection to kidney stones to kidney failure being the options. The cystitis drink sachets can work miracles or do absolutely nothing. Basically it is bicarbonate of soda mixed in with cranberry flavouring, which would be easy to make yourself but I prefer just to buy it for quick relief. It can cost anything from £1 from the pound shop all the way up to £4 or £5 from Boots and suchlike. It can also taste pretty foul to be honest but if you are in that much pain you just don't care! I would inject it into myself if it would stop the pain.
Although you may think a water infection cannot be that bad, anyone who has had one can say otherwise; it is absolutely excruciating, you will do absolutely anything to stop the pain. The drinks sachets can work if it is only mild. This is because the potassium citrate (bicarbonate of soda) neutralises the urine to make it less painful when urinating.
However, it is always better to go to a doctor and get yourself checked out. I hate going to the doctors unless I absolutely have to, but this is your kidneys you are dealing with here and you could end up with permanent damage if it gets quite serious. I have gone to see a nurse on a few occasions, always taking a urine sample with me, lovely. The first one of the day is usually the best as it is the most concentrated. The results of my first one required further testing and re-testing, which is a bit worrying as this has never happened before. So it is a week after this all kicked off and I am still in pain. I have had courses of antibiotics, cystitis sachets until they're coming out of my nose and the pain is slightly less but still extremely irritating.
I am now awaiting further test results. I wish I could give this absolutely zero stars because one star would mean it was at least a little bit fun, but it is by no means good in any way! I would advise having a box of sachets in as a precaution, especially if you've had it before. Not good times. Drink lots and get yourself to your medical centre as soon as you can if you are suffering from any symptoms. Paracetamol can also be useful for pain relief on the go, if you are ever caught short.
Until you have known the nagging discomfort that accompanies cystitis you have no idea how agonising it can be. Those of you without wombs will probably be lucky enough to escape this condition but, beware, it is possible for men to be struck down with the infection and then you will suffer, and know what hardships life can bring to a woman (you can't hear the bitterness in my voice can you?). CYSTITIS This condition occurs when the protective lining of the bladder is broken down by toxins, causing the bladder to become inflamed and tender. The infection is more common in the over 40s, although 25% of sufferers are under 30. 10% of sufferers are male (a bit like the Lottery - it could be you!). SYMPTOMS · A constant need to go to the loo but when you arrive, to your absolute annoyance, there is but a drop waiting to be loosed into the porcelain bowl. · Pain or a strange tingling sensation while urinating. · Cloudy or smelly urine · Blood in urine · Pelvic pain A quick glance at the symptoms might have you thinking, 'What is this woman making a fuss about? I've had worse hangovers than that'. However, the sensation of needing to urinate is constant and pressing and eventually takes over all your thoughts until you become obsessed with spending all your time in the smallest room in the house. The discomfort is so acute that it can stop you from sleeping or wake you during the night. The rest of your waking hours the pain just causes you to be damned miserable. CURE While suffering from cystitis the pH of the bladder shifts to being too acidic and if this balance can be redressed the infection may pass. Bicarbonate of soda can be dissolved in a glass of water and swallowed (I recommend holding your nose whilst doing so and, whatever you do, don't think about vomiting!). The bicarb is an alkali and will help to pull your bladder back
from the brink of acid overdose! However, I have to say that this has rarely been successful in my experience. Often, after feeling only the tiniest of twinge and fearing that an attack may be on the way, I have swallowed copious amounts of disgusting bicarb, which seems determined to act as an emetic but has little effect on the cystitis. Products can be purchased at the chemists that claim to cure cystitis, which consist of a course of powder sachets that must be added to water and drunk. These products normally cost around £5.00 and are a massive con. If you scrutinise their ingredients you will see that they are made up of nothing more than sodium bicarbonate and citrus flavouring. You are paying huge sums of money for a product that you could make yourself from ingredients costing 59 p at your local supermarket. And (see above paragraph) it doesn't cure the infection! The only real cure is to go to your local surgery and beg the receptionist to let you see someone as soon as possible. The doctor will probably carry out a quick urine test to see if you are indeed infected and will then prescribe you antibiotics! It is usual to have a course of two tablets per day for a period of three days and this is normally completely successful in eradicating the dreaded cystitis. The doctor may also send your urine off to the laboratory for a full test, so that they can ascertain that they have prescribed the correct antibiotic for the infection. After taking the antibiotics an improvement can often be felt within hours, although it will take a few days for all the symptoms to disappear completely. RELIEVING SYMPTOMS If you can't get to your doctor or you can?t bear the pain whilst you are waiting for the drugs to take their effect you will want to ease that need to urinate and the stinging that accompanies it. Drinking lots and lots of water will help. At least when you make your twentieth tri
p to the loo in one morning you will find that you do actually need to go! This also helps to flush out the infection and if you have only got a very mild dose it may actually eradicate it. Bearing in mind that your insides will be sloshing about with what sounds like the Pacific Ocean, you probably won't have much room for more liquid. However, as much as you might like to drown your sorrows, you must cut out the alcohol. Alcohol aggravates the condition and makes things a whole lot worse (at this point I could tell you a tale which would be better found in the Embarrassing Moments category - I may be open to bribes from the curious). A hot water bottle on the tummy does wonders, especially if contained in one of those cuddly Eeyore hot water bottle covers (the cover is purely psychological). The heat soothes the nagging feeling in your bladder and for a while you can forget that you feel like you need to dash up and down the corridor to the little girls' room like a thing possessed. PREVENTION Ensuring that the conditions within your bladder remain alkaline will help to keep cystitis away. Fear not though, I am not going to make you drink sodium bicarbonate every day. Cranberry juice works equally as well, as a preventative measure and if you don't want to waste a couple of hundred calories of your daily intake of food (and, let's face it, it could be better spent on ice cream, chocolate or booze), then cranberry tablets are now available. The next bit of advice will probably go down like an empty packet of condoms at an orgy but I am afraid that you are going to have to cut out tea and coffee and cola. All caffeine is a no no! This really does seem to make a difference; bravely and in desperation at this recurring infection, I once gave up the glorious bean and, despite suffering from hideous cold turkey, the bouts of cystitis disappeared. Now, I don't want to teach my grandmoth
er to suck eggs (or in this case, teach her to wipe her ass) but bathroom hygiene is very important. Infections can be passed to the urethra from the anus (I use the biological terms but it still sounds rude!). Always, always, always wipe from front to back (even if you have only been for number 1s). As an addition precaution, if you have the time and the energy, you can douche after every bowel movement. If you contract thrush (men - it's okay for you to have blank expressions, this is another delight you probably won't encounter), ensure that it is treated swiftly. If thrush is left untreated it can then make your life a greater misery by causing cystitis. Whenever you pass water ensure that you have fully emptied your bladder. Give a little extra squeeze even when you think you have evacuated everything! Wait 1 minute and then wee again, you will be surprised to find that there is a tiny dribble left - and we don't want that hanging around your bladder causing infections, do we? Finally (and this one takes a bit of getting used to and can be a bit of a moment spoiler) urinate before and after making love. You may find that you do not have enough liquid to do both (unless you have been drinking gallons of water per day, as instructed), in which case ensure that you wee after sex - even if it is in the middle of the night! PAIN IN THE BUM (Well, more like a pain in the bladder, actually). Those of you who have suffered this will know how painful and disrupting this infection can be. Men - imagine that your urethra has been blocked and yet you are desperate to go to the loo. That is a bit what the feeling is like. Then, once you actually manage to squeeze some urine out from that blocked penis of yours, you find that some b*st*rd has slashed your insides with a knife, or that is how it can feel anyway! Hope that was vivid enough for you. Well, if I'm suffering then I have to fi
nd someone to suffer with me. Remember, prevention is better than cure. I had cut out the caffeine, I used to take cranberry tablets every day and then I just got bored of it all, as it seemed so pointless and a few months later, here I am writing an opinion on cystitis with a hot water bottle on my tum and antibiotics in hand. Be warned. I'm off cranberry picking now.
Why is it that women seem to have so many more flippin' complications with their twinkle than men have with their bits?!?! That?s a rhetorical question by the way so I?m not expecting a load of answers to it in the comments! To be honest- I don?t really know the answer to that myself. However I do know of a particularly distressing little problem called cystitis. In my case it happened after a weekend of non-stop alcohol bingeing with a few of my mates and by the time I?d sobered up, I was in agony. I kept thinking I needed to go to the toilet and when I did, The wee-wee sometimes didn?t come and when it did it stung like hell!!! I seriously thought I had damaged my liver and that (this bit is not nice) it was coming away from within my body and getting 'stuck' somewhere inside! So, what did I do? I went round to my mums and asked her advice - she always ends up being the fountain of knowledge in things like this for some reason. I think its 'cos I'm too embarrassed to see the GP or ask the pharmacist. I was right to ask mum though, she told me she?d had the same problem before and that I should drink plenty of water, to help cleanse my bladder. She also made me drink some of that awful Bicarbonate of Soda, as this would ease the 'burning' sensation. She was right, I lay back on the settee, and within a couple of hours I began to feel better! So, let?s talk about cystitis. It is actually an 'inflammation of the inside lining of the bladder'. Now, I know this doesn?t sound great girls but don?t panic (like me!), because although it can be distressing and uncomfortable, it isn?t really any danger towards your health. In fact over HALF the women in the UK suffer from cystitis at one stage or another in their lives, and for some women (poor girls) it becomes re-occurring. Don?t think that men don?t get it by the way, because they can, children can too, only it is very rare. It mainly aff
ects women (any age) because the urethra, vagina and anus are all close together and so it is easier for any bacteria to spread (obviously men?s urethra are longer!!!) Bacteria can spread in many different ways like during sexual intercourse, when inserting tampons, or by not wiping our bottoms properly (front to back ladies - you know the drill!!!!) Other infections like thrush can cause similar symptoms by irritating the urethra; bacteria from things like chlamydia and herpes can also cause cystitis. Over-deodorised toiletries and other strong detergents in washing powders can cause chemical changes and irritation around the vagina. Friction from sexual intercourse or tight clothing can also aggravate the vagina. Spermicide used on diaphragms and condoms can sometimes cause an attack; even things like a change in lifestyle; stress or depression can bring on or make worse the symptoms of cystitis! So come on girls - spot the signs, you will normally have one or more of the following: 'Burning' pains when passing wee-wee. Needing to go to wee-wee more. Feeling the need to go and then not doing a wee-wee. Pain in tummy and lower back. Blood in your wee-wee. Fever. Sickness. Don?t think that just because you?re weeing a bit more you?ve automatically got cystitis. It could be a sign of something else like pregnancy, diabetes, fibroids in your womb, chlamydia, gonorrhoea or herpes? If you?re not sure, see your GP (or your mum!). So, if you do have it here?s what to do it: Drink plenty of water - It will sting at first but the more you go for a wee the better it will get. Take Bicarbonate of soda - check with your GP about this one if you?re on any other medication or you have a high blood pressure or heart trouble. But it should make the sting go away and make your wee less acidi
c. Hot water Bottles - great for wrapping in towels and holding on to your tummy and back to help ease discomfort. Take painkillers - follow the instructions on the packet. Rest and relax - take your mind of it. Always see your GP if: It lasts for more than two days. You are pregnant. If you are passing blood. If there is any soreness or irritation. Prevent it happening again by: Drinking plenty of water and other bland fluids like milk and herbal teas. Go for a wee when you need one. Empty your bladder completely (squeeze out every last drop). Always wipe from front to back. Wash your twinkle every morning and night. Avoid using heavily perfumed soaps and shampoos in case of bad reactions. Wear loose clothing. Use a lubricant during sexual intercourse. Don?t be afraid to ask your GP or local pharmacist for help, that?s what they?re there for and you can always go to any of the NHS Walk-in Centres for advice on sexual health if that?s what?s needed. But my main point is - Girls, look after your twinkle!? It is special and deserves to be taken care of.
I find it quite strange that I had to request dooyoo to add this sub-category to the site, given that this is a common condition and there are already many categories reviewing various treatments for the condition. General information on conditions are often a useful addition to dooyoo, so I thought I would add my experience of cystitis and the ways it can be prevented and treated. I have experienced this condition three times, with the first attack being about four years ago. -What is cystitis? Cystitis is caused by an infection or inflammation of the bladder - the most common symptoms of it are a burning or stinging sensation when passing water, and the need to pass water much more frequently than normal. It is usually no more than an uncomfortable nuisance, and attacks rarely cause any lasting damage. The condition is most common in women (around 80% will experience at least one attack during their lifetime) but can occasionally occur in men and children. As cystitis is so much more common in women (due to us having a shorter urethra than men), then that is what this op concentrates on - it is advisable for men and children to seek specialist advice from doctors or pharmacists should they have an attack. -How is it caused? There are two types of cystitis. Non-bacterial cystitis is triggered by not drinking sufficient water, using certain soaps (especially heavily perfumed ones) or by wearing overly tight trousers - stress is probably also a contributing factor. This leads to inflammation of the bladder, and usually only the two main symptoms mentioned above ? in my experience, this is the less painful of the two types of the condition. Secondly, there is bacterial cystitis, which can lead to the bladder becoming infected - the bacteria may be introduced to the urinary tract through sex ("honeymoon cystitis") or ineffective hygiene. If an infection does occur then additional symptoms will be experience
d, normally one or more of the following: - darker or cloudier urine - blood in the urine - running a temperature and feeling very tired - stomach, groin or back pains This is a more serious form of cystitis, as left untreated it will make the sufferer feel very unwell and could lead to a kidney infection. It is therefore very important to visit your doctor if any of the above symptoms are experienced during an attack, or if the cystitis becomes persistent or recurrent. I had my first attack of bacterial cystitis just before Christmas, and found it to be more painful and long lasting than the previous attacks I had had - fortunately I managed to see my doctor before the infection reached my kidneys and got more serious. -How is it treated? At the first signs of an attack, it is important to get treatment quickly to relieve the discomfort and pain. Most cases will clear up quickly with a treatment of sodium or potassium citrate mixture, which comprise of six sachets of powder that form a 48-hour course (check with your doctor if you have kidney disease or are pregnant). The powder (usually lemon or cranberry flavoured) should be dissolved in a glass of water (or fruit squash if you want to disguise the taste of it) and are taken as three sachets a day for two days - it is important to compete the course, even if you feel better. The citrate mixture works by making the urine less acid, and a course costs between £4 and £5 depending on the brand (available at all chemists and some supermarkets). The most effective I have found is Cystopurin, which also has the benefit of being more palatable than lemon flavoured varieties. In addition, treatment can be aided by: - drinking as much water as possible - drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry tablets (Seven Seas costs £5 for 50 once a day tablets), as this helps the body to correct the pH of the urinary tract - drinking barley water to reduce the acidi
ty of the urine - avoiding caffeine and alcohol (both diuretics) - avoiding acidic fruit juices (such as orange or grapefruit) If the cystitis has not cleared up completely by the time the course of citrate mixture has finished, then another course is not recommended - instead, continue drinking plenty of water and see your doctor straight away. Under normal circumstances though, relief will be felt within a few hours and the symptoms will have cleared completely within 48 hours. Should medical treatment be required for cystitis, you will be expected to provide a sample of urine for the doctor to test for bacteria. If an infection is confirmed, then a course of antibiotics will be required to clear it up - the ones I had were taken four times daily for five days. Some antibiotics are not to be taken with sodium or potassium citrate, so it is important to check this before you start to take the tablets, and discontinue drinking the mixture if necessary. As with all antibiotics, make sure you read the instructions fully and complete the course. Anyone unlucky enough to have cystitis spread to become a kidney infection may be helped by taking a herbal supplement of Kava, although you should check with a pharmacist if you are also taking antibiotics or other medication. -Prevention is better than cure Anyone that has had cystitis knows how unpleasant, painful (and expensive!) it can be. If you have had an attack previously, then the possibility of further attacks can be reduced by: - drinking plenty of fluids - regularly eating cranberries, drinking their juice or taking supplements - going to the bathroom as soon as you need to pass water to keep the bladder flushed - avoid using perfumed soaps and deodorants in the vaginal area - washing after sex It is also a good idea to keep a course of citrate mixture in your first aid kit, so that you can get treatment quickly when you feel an attack
start. I should also add that it is worth trying different brands of treatment, as you may find that some suit you or taste better than others. There are reviews in other sections of dooyoo that may help you with your choice. -Useful Sites http://www.ichelp.org/welcome.html International Cystitis Association http://www.ichelp.org/welcome.html Cystitis Network http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/diseases/facts/cystitis.htm Net Doctor