Things That Can Give You Cystitis…

by | Feb 14, 2019

ruth crilly on the toilet

Here’s a list of the things that can seemingly give you cystitis. It’s not exhaustive.

1  Having raucous sex

2  Having mildly enthusiastic sex

3  Not having any sex

4  Wearing cropped jumpers that don’t cover your kidneys

5  Wearing low jeans that don’t cover your kidneys

6  Not wearing a vest

7  Drinking too much alcohol

8  Drinking just a bit of alcohol but not enough water

9  Drinking Coca Cola instead of water

10 Drinking Fanta instead of water

11 Drinking water

12 Drinking just the one alcoholic beverage in a hot place and then falling asleep in the sun

13 Having drunk sex in a hot place and falling asleep in the sun

14 Having sex in a hot place, not having a wee and then falling asleep in the sun

15 Wearing a G-String, aka a Germ Highway

16 Wiping yourself back-to-front

17 Wiping yourself with a scented wipe

18 Wiping yourself accidentally with a floor-cleaning wipe

19 Wiping yourself accidentally with a glasses-cleaning wipe

20 Sitting on a cold kerb in a flimsy skirt

21 Sitting on a kerb of moderate-to-warm temperature when there’s a cold north-easterly wind

22 Sitting on a kerb in the summer and merely thinking about alcohol, raucous sex or dehydration

23 Planning a night out with the girls

24 Planning a night of romance

25 Planning anything fun whatsoever

26 Breathing

By the way, if you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen a version of this list already when it was in its germination stage. After that post I had dozens of messages recommending cystitis cures including the sachets you mix with water (these take the sting out but ultimately do nothing for me), D-Mannose and bicarb baths.

I have to say that D-Mannose does seem to be quite an effective cystitis prevention method for me – there have been a number of times in the past year or so that I’ve taken it at “first twinge” and successfully warded off bouts. However it does absolutely nothing if my bladder infection is already established – I may as well just be shaking a twig with bells on and singing incantations to the Goddess of Pain-Free Urination. When the burn sets in, I always end up on antibiotics. Thankfully never more than once or twice a year (and weirdly, didn’t get it a single time for four years when I was pregnant/breastfeeding/pregnant again/breastfeeding again) but I do try for a few days to fight it off naturally and it just gets worse no matter what I do.

Bloody cystitis. Feel free to add your own anecdotal material to the comments section – it’ll be F.U.N! By the way, I hope you appreciate my dedication to maintaining the visual appeal of this blog: I was going to use a picture of a Canesten Oasis sachet to illustrate this post but then decided to give you a real life photo of me on the toilet. You’re welcome. (I wasn’t weeing, it was staged.)


  1. I had Cystitis every 2 weeks last year it was horrific and mentally I was near the end of my tether it took me ages to find a GP at my surgery would actually send me for test rather than just give me anti biotics but all the tests came back fine and it was made out that I was exaggerating :(

    I have found if I do the following things I can keep cystitis away (I’ve been UTI free now for a couple of months)

    -take d-mannose everyday and twice a day if I have sex
    -go to the toilet before sex, after sex and both wash our hands (takes away the spontaneity but hey ho)
    -cotton underwear
    -never use strong soap to wash down there
    -for every glass of alcohol match with a glass of water
    – maximum two coffees a day (again matched with water)
    -no Coca Cola.,

    • The no Coca Cola one is the one I struggle with! It’s my achilles heel. : )

  2. Hi!! Wishing you a speedy recovery…have you considered seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist? They are quite good at figuring out if there is a structural reason you are frequently getting cystitis! xo

  3. Hi,
    I haven’t read all the comments so maybe this has already been mentioned. Lactobacillus Crispatus (different one from what you would take orally) is amazingly effective for treating and preventing inflammations in the lady garden. There’s lots of scientific evidence and it’s not expensive. I’ve used Physioflor and used to use a different one that’s been discontinued. This+concentrated cranberry tablets actually work fast.

  4. All great suggestions. May I add one I haven’t seen listed?
    Freshly washed hands before sex (especially him).
    This, with the usual cotton crotch underwear, peeing before & after has kept me UTI free for years and years. Yes, spontaneous kinda loses momentum, but not having had burning, burning, burning in so long has been well worth it.

  5. I never normally comment but wanted to say that I sympathise with you all and wanted share my experience in the hope that it might help someone. I have suffered with cystitis and UTIs sporadically over the years and have then had symptoms of such tenfold over the past 12 months which has coincided with a new relationship…fun!

    I think around half of the time I have had cystitis or a UTI but in other cases it has been IBS, which has been quite the revelation. I hadn’t thought about it before but as everything is packed together down there, it makes sense that if one area flares up then it is likely to impact on the other, in my case causing nerve pain, bladder pain and an overactive bladder.

    I have stocked up on a medication called UroFuraginum. My friend was given this in a pharmacy in Krakow and now won’t be without it. From researching it, my very basic, no medical knowledge understanding of it is that it contains the antimicrobial that is in Nitrofurantoin but not the antibiotic, so there is little worry about being given antibiotics unnecessarily, antibiotic resistance etc. It is available to buy online but I would obviously recommend running it past a medical professional first.

    Other helpful things that I have discovered are –

    * D-mannose, I prefer it in powder form to tablets as I find I can get a higher dose in as quickly as possible
    * Sitting with a hot water bottle between my legs, as hot as I can handle
    * Cutting down on caffeine and alcohol
    * Sleeping in a position that doesn’t put pressure on the bladder – lying on my back with my legs in a h position seems to relieve the strain, but there are many people online who have suggested other positions that they have found beneficial

    Now I am going to go back through the comments and makes notes of other people’s suggestions :)

    • Thanks Zara, this is so, so helpful! x

  6. Ruth, there was a very interesting article on cystitis in The Guardian published yesterday (20th February). It was a real eye-opener especially the information on how the currently used urine test was created in the 1950’s and really isn’t fit for purpose and has never been improved.

    • Yes, someone very kindly messaged me with it – it’s very interesting indeed. Worth a post here do you think? x

      • Yes, definitely worth a post. The article provides people with information as to why the urine test so often fails to show an infection. I know this first-hand myself when I experienced cystitis. Fortunately the nurse-practitioner I saw virtually disregarded the result and gave me a nod and a wink that the test was pretty useless. She arranged a prescription for antibiotics for me anyway and they worked. I was so grateful. The article has forewarned me if it happens again.

  7. I used to get them CONSTANTLY when I was a teenager and in a young relationship with constant sex. Luckily it didn’t last long and my poor vagina and bladder had a break! Some times I was able to stop it at first twinge if I downed 2 litres of cranberry juice.

    When I was living at my uni campus we had a doctors on site but I got there just as they were about to close and they wouldn’t see me so I had to get on a BUS for HALF AN HOUR to the walk in clinic whilst my bladder was on fire. Not fun.

    I get twinges now literally every time I have any form of alcohol. So I just down water until it stops. Normally have a delightful half hour on the toilet, burning pee central, and then it buggers off for me luckily. Since that partner, peeing after sex seems to have kept it at bay!!

    • Hi Ruth, I follow you on YouTube but never though you have such an amazing blog. Congrats!
      This comment section is hilarious. I haven’t had a serious cystitis (nor taken a antibiotics, also Canesten is a complete history for me) in 6 years since I’m married.
      We always wash our hands before sex and I ALWAYS pee afterwards and wash myself afterwards with running water and mild soap. Xx

  8. I once had an UTI during my last days of college. I had a couple of exams and I thought that they were more important than going to the doctor.
    The day of my last exam, I went to bed exhausted and woke up in the middle of the night having spasms all over my body. I thought that I was having an epileptic attack. My roommate had to help me get dressed, she then put me in a taxi and took me to the hospital.
    It turns out that I had a serious UTI that had caused high fever, which had caused the spasms. I was hoping to spend a week at the beach and instead I had to spend a week in bed.

    Ever since then I always pee right after sex (I know, not very romantic) and drink cranberry juice when I think something is amiss. I haven’t had an UTI for the past 7 years. My mother also swears by concentrated cranberry pills.

  9. Anyone else reading this as ignorant as I was? Had no idea! Now I’m absolutely terrified, will no longer eye roll when my Mum mentions she’s suffering and will look upon having my fathers genes with far more gratitude. Thanks for the jaw dropping education Ruth and all your contributors!

  10. Lots of water and cranberry supplement (double dose the first time)!
    Had problem for years but thankfully it’s been a while since the last time I had it

  11. My top tips:

    – always weeing straight away after sex
    -do’t get dehydrated
    -make sure you fully empty your bladder each time you wee – jiggle about & shift position on the loo. Apparently any urine left in your bladder can become a breeding ground for bacteria?
    -drinking LOTS (think litres!) of water as soon as you get the dreaded twinge.

  12. I’m too shy to comment normally, and this is a really random way to start (!), but if you search ‘UTI and chicken’ on YouTube, there’s a short video on the possible link between prepping/consumption of chicken as a contributing factor for recurrent UTIs. Totally random I know, but if that video helps anyone make a change and find relief, I’ll be happy x

  13. Hey! I’ve been suffering from that since I can imagine. 3 things that truly helped. 1. Take vitamin c pills (500g-1000mg) every morning. It helps with the ph of your wee. 2. Changing the toilette paper ( try to avoid the very rough ones). 3. Take your water in. Drink at least 2litres a day. Keep you wee transparent as much as you can. When it gets darker the risk becomes higher of getting cistitis.

  14. Cystitis is THE WORST, not only is the pain on another level, I tend to feel hot/cold, clammy, shakey, and generally really unwell. Luckily, because of my job if I get “the feeling” I have quick access to the different anti biotics needed to combat it. I now take them before sex to get rid of any bacteria before it has chance to cause me agro! If you can, see if your GP will prescribe you some to keep at home so that you can take them in advance if there might be any chance whatsoever that cystitis may be lurking. It’s not ideal and no, we shouldn’t take anti biotics “willy nilly” but for anyone who has experienced cystitis in all its glory, I’m sure they would happily take the risk of one day, potentially, anti biotics becoming null and void, I know I would.

    Wishing you a pain free urinary tract xx

  15. Wee after sex, no matter how tempting it is to fall asleep. That cured me from repetitive cystitis.

    My sister swears by Cranberry Juice. Apparently it alters the urine to make it more difficult for bacteria to stick to the bladder wall. It only works preventative though, not when you already have symptoms, so she basically drinks it every day.

    Anne – Linda, Libra, Loca

  16. Peeing after sex and drinking lots of water didn’t work when I was pregnant, got cystitis every time without fail. Had to tell the boyfriend ‘no sex’ after the third time on antibiotics!

  17. Love this photo! You should hang it in your downstairs loo. Do not love cystitis.

  18. Thank you Ruth for raising this issue and speaking about this and to all the lovely comments! It really is a community!

  19. The best way to prevent cystitis if you’re sexually active is urinating immediately after sex (like literally get up after it’s over and go to the loo). It flushes out all the bacteria that gets pushed up into your urethra during the act and this works regardless of the location or the “vigorousness” of your sex lol. I’ve never had cystitis or any kind of infection down there and I honestly think it’s because I was given this tip when I was younger.

    I think cystitis outside of sexual encounters is usually because of problems with your vaginal flora or an underlying kidney problem or virus.

  20. Hi Everyone

    I used to suffer from UTI’s as a teenager and let me tell you I just shutter thinking of it….
    As a teenager, I would do the chug a gallon of cranberry juice and hope for the best. But now I have a few major solutions for preventing UTI’s and I haven’t had one in 5 years!

    1.) The first sign of the “Twinge”-Immediatley stop what your doing and drink 2 liters of water until you feel like you’ll burst. DO NOT pee right away. Wait 25-30 minutes and resist the twingy-urgency feeling. After such time passes-then pee.

    2.) In additional taking cranberry pills even if you take them as infrequently as once a week. They work wonders at preventing any UTI symptoms.

    3.) If you have a full bladder & think you’ll have sex within the first few seconds; excuse yourself in your sexy-mysterious voice and discretely go to the bathroom. If that’s not viable, drink a lot of water and then pee right after sex.

  21. Your Instagram / post made me laugh so much. I’ve been a long term sufferer (since I was eight years old..I’m now 30). Other things…
    – thinking about going on a long walk
    – sitting on a long haul flight that’s just about to take off
    – thinking about going anywhere that isn’t your house

    My favourite was spending two hours stuck in a Lancaster service station toilet on the way back from my mini-moon. Sounds like I need to try D-Mannose!

  22. No. 18. I once inadverently wiped myself with a parazone toilet wipe! Then shouted – I’ve just put bleach on my fanny!!!! THEN I noticed that the loo window was wide open and my neighbours, who were having a bbq had gone curiously silent. They’ve since moved. Not because of me I don’t think.

  23. I’m 31 and have suffered my whole life! I’m literally so careful and petrified of every event or holiday because I’ll get one.
    The list is so true. And I agree with bubble baths. Jeans. Spas. Swimming pools. Just everything really!
    I always wonder if I’m the only one with these recurrent issues. I wish there was a cure x

  24. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to laugh (especially #18 & 19) at a subject which is particularly not amusing at all. I would add “Having a catheter put in while in the hospital”, which has been the source of my own ongoing bout with cystitis since having my daughter 11 months ago. I can’t tell you how many doctor’s visits and exams I’ve had at this point trying to figure out why it won’t go away. The only thing I’ve found that helps with the symptoms is CYS-Control Fort by Arkopharma (powdered D-mannose and cranberry that you dissolve in water). I think it’s a French product, not sure, I live in Italy and order it from Amazon. I’ve been taking one a night for months now, which, aside from the agonizing symptoms of cystitis, it is also agonizing to spend a small fortune on tablets, dissolving powders, and antibiotics if you have recurring bouts. I don’t even want to think about how much I’ve spent. Best of luck and happy healing to you, sister.

    • Oh crikey, luckily I avoided it with the catheter – I did worry it would trigger it.. x

  25. My daughter and I both get it regularly! She’s been told her “holes” are very close together!!!!! Trimethoprim never works either so we have to get nitroanfuriten or whatever it is. And it is definitely too much “friction” in the area

    • Oh really? Wow! The things we get told!! : )

  26. Ok, pee regularly so drink lots of water to do that.
    Pee after sex – a must !
    When you take antibiotics which cause cystitis again drink water, lots of it
    When you start to feel it’s arriving, run a warmish bath, pour a mug full of salt in it, let it dissolve, sit in said bath and slosh it up there get out of bath pat dry and you will be fine next day, if not, the do bath and salt again with mug and a half

    Resolved mine to the point I don’t get anymore unless on super strong antibiotics

    Good luck ! Xx

  27. ooo and genetics – my mother is also a long-time sufferer

  28. Jacuzzis
    Goats cheese
    Biological washing powder
    Washing socks and underwear together
    A kebab – in fact any food from a questionable source
    Crossing your legs for too long
    too-tight high waisted trousers
    underwear that is not made of cotton
    plasticky sani pads
    sitting down for too long

    the cure: cranberry and vodka
    the prevention: copious amounts of tea

  29. I am sorry to hear you suffer from recurrent cystitis. So do I….
    I have tried everything! Some things have worked. Some haven’t. But it has always come back eventually!
    I have antibiotics on stand-by now, and take one tablet after sex. I know it seems crazy (especially with so much information out there about antibiotic resistance and how doctors should really think before prescribing ABs) but it has been a life saver. There is a theory that recurrent cystitis will keep coming back due to bladder scarring so the idea is to take the preventative dose of ABs for 6-12 months and let the bladder heal. I am yet to see if it ‘heals’ and if I can go without the ABs in the future. Of course, preventative ABs is not a solution forever.
    I’m not sure this would help you as you said you didn’t have a single episode during 4 years or pregnancy, breastfeeding etc so you’d think your bladder had a chance to heal the scars but this might help someone else.
    As for you, it could be something to do with oestrogen levels – not that they are not right but just the fact that when they were higher in pregnancy etc which helped your bouts of cystitis.
    I think the key is to find a doctor that listens and is willing to work with you to help. So many GPs just brush you off :(
    Good luck,
    Fellow sufferer

  30. Ruth I used to suffer. What worked for me was keeping a very large bag (1kg+??) of frozen cranberries in the freezer. At first god awful sign, I’d smash them to smithereens in the juicer with water and imbibe the acrid drink throughout the day, literally gorging on those juiced berries. Worked every time. I think the logic is that the berries are rammed full of what the sachets contain only a bit of, no nasties or sugar added which can make things worse. God I’m soooo glad I’ve not been there for a few years, nothing worse. I hope you find a cure or at least don’t get it often in future. xx

  31. I do hope that you are feeling better. I remember the pain and how poorly I used to be, once ending up with a kidney infection. I had years of antibiotics and got so desperate that I went to the ‘Clap Clinic’ (it was the 1980’s ). After the ‘ all clear’ the doctor gave me this advice and I have been forever grateful. Wee before and after sex, wash knickers in non biological washing powder, dont use bubble bath and wash nether regions with mild soap. The relief was almost immediate and I’ve only had problems since when a pair of knickers finds there way into bio powder or I’m gifted bubble bath and think that I’ll just give it a go. I love your blogs, instagrams and videos. Keep up the good work!

  32. After getting cystitis at least once a month for my whole adult life and 2 kidney infections, one landing me in hospital where I had to sleep with my bed “upside down” to get my blood pressure back up, I’ve been diagnosed with insistitial cystitis! Yay! Basically cystitis that isn’t bacterial therefore you can’t get rid… just have to roll with it. Hilariously, my specialist advised I stay away from wine etc “but champagne is ok”… and he’s not wrong! So red wine is a no go and I have a glowing complexion from all the water I drink and a newly expensive drinking habit of the moet variety. I’m sure if you have a taste for champagne and want him to “recommend” it for you, he will.

  33. My first ever attack of cystitis started the night before I was due to take my driving test, blood in my pee, tummy ache and a constant urge to rush to the bathroom. Talk about bad timing! Needless to say, I didn’t pass my test on that occasion.

  34. I too get them occasionally and what a nightmare…..I use to go to the DR at the first sign, but then thought that I could ‘cure’ them with OTC products, but no. I always end up with antibiotics. Even taking Oil of Oregano, garlic and known natural antibiotics don’t work for me, sadly. Ruth, I did have to chuckle when I read your list!!! Thank you!!

  35. The sachets do nothing!!!
    I’ve had so many UTIs. Ended up in A&E went for CT scan, ultrasound and a cystoscopy (shudder). Only thing that works. Tons of liquids, wee after sex, and don’t have too much sex . Antibiotics are my god send and I definitely would absolutely have died back in the days without them. I always have a few antibiotics stashed in my bag just in case. Another thing that women have to suffer!!

  36. Fellow sufferer here. Do you use a diaphragm for birth control? Could be the culprit. Cranberry juice is also supposed to help the problem but the palatable version has loads of sugar.

  37. Oh gosh, this is my lifetime issue. When I was 2 years old (I am 28 now) I got a very bad bladder infection and my whole urinary tract is sort of underdeveloped because of that. I went through a lot of rounds of antibiotics and I am immune now for most of them…What works for me is drinking a lot of vitamin C. I buy powdered vitamin C and I literally overdose with it but it washes away the bacteria because the bacteria hates acidic environment. And it works every single time. I haven’t taken antibiotics in 4 years. I drink 3 – 4 litres of water everyday and every morning I take a full teaspoon of vitamin C.
    I feel for you!

  38. Now that was certainly funny about something that’s not funny at all! :-)
    I used to always get Interstitial Cystitis (which isn’t a full UTI so no antibiotics given) and man did it kill. I have an autoimmune (Sjogrens Syndrome) which may be the reason for the flares but when I got them I would have absolutely no caffeine, no alcohol, no citrus and drink tons of water and cranberry juice and the AZO cranberry pills and it would make it stop. Thanks for the fun and good luck everyone!

  39. I had a nasty UTI a few years ago and ended up spending a night in hospital on IV antibiotics with a follow-up course at home. Ever since then, I have taken a cranberry tablet (good old Boots Cranberry Extract 400mg), every day. The science stuff is that cranberry contains PACs (proanthocyanidins), which can help prevent bacteria adhering to the bladder wall.

    It’s prevention, rather than cure, and I’ve been completely UTI-free ever since.

  40. I got a really bad what must have been cystitis at first that I had for months drinking cranberry juice hid my symptoms! But I still had infection it went to kidneys and almost had blood poisoning from it in August only just got over it fully after being allergic to antibiotics! Ughhh now down to 7st 3 and finding it hard to get strength back.

    In a nut: get to the dr or I have pee sample sticks (Amazon) and test every week to be sure! Really scary stuff! Lots of water the best trick!

    Thanks Ruth! Think we all needed this is such a taboo but we all get it!

  41. Elderberry juice is supposed to be good for it. Good for your immune system to fight colds too. Xx

  42. My top tip (aka the ONLY thing that works) is a teaspoon of Bicarb in a bout 2cm of water (tastes foul so shot it back and rinse down with lots of fresh water after) 3 times a day or minimum before bed when you feel the twinge. It’s the only thing that has ever worked to control it for me and I had repeated bouts of cystitis last year, utterly miserable! Hope you get it under control soon! X

  43. I have been immunized with “StroVac” which has helped for two years! Unfortunately, I now live in the US (had it in Germany) and it’s still in the freaking “testing stages” here. I am quite certain if male researchers had UTIs with any regularity, the vaccine would be pushed through more quickly! We concern ourselves with over use of antibiotics, and yet are lagging behind when it comes to actual CURES…but, we’re so worried about building a damn walll…I guess there just isn’t enough time for everything

  44. Lolol. I agree on sooo many points! You forgot: ‘have vagina’ as a reason. I used to have them 4 times a year, always leading to antibiotics….cue thrush. My saving grace is pyridium (not sure of I am spelling that correctly). I take it at any inkling of discomfort. Haven’t had it for 18 months now!! Apparently, it ‘pauses’ the bacteria, so if you drink it early, your body can kill of the germs. I always waited too long and it was useless like you said happened with the d-mannose.

    May we support each other and never pee watermelon juice again!

  45. It’s 4:40 pm Friday when first “oh s**t” symptoms appear … the doctor’s office closes at 5 for the weekend. Every single time.

  46. I have a stash of these sachets ready to go at all times! I have a medical condition that causes me to take a large quantity of painkillers and if I get constipated then cystitis swiftly follows. Never mind the fact that some of my meds makes my bladder lazy! A never ending battle. Women certainly don’t have it easy.

  47. I’m 21 and used to get cystitis at least once or twice A MONTH! Mine escalates quickly- within a few hours of a ‘twinge’ I will be peeing blood and my kidneys will be hurting. Twice I’ve had to go to A&E and been admitted to hospital due to kidney infection because my GP’s either forgot to check my urine sample or I wasn’t ‘bad’ enough to have antibiotics (and it got worse over the weekend)‍♀️
    I haven’t had cystitis since November!! This is the longest I’ve gone since about 2 years!!
    My tips-
    -pee after sex
    – wear granny pants
    – don’t stress/ don’t work too hard
    – drink at least 1 litre of lemon water!!

  48. I haven’t had it in years but not drinking anything other than a cup of tea at 5.30 am 2 days in a row leadvto a nasty bout. I had to puss so frequently and it was so hideously painful I just sat in the bath for 2 hours peeing into the warm water. 2 litres of cranberry juice helped flush it out but dear god i’m Just gonna Catheterise myself next time work is so busy!!

  49. I’m one of the unfortunates that suffer with cystitis almost every month, if it’s not Cystitis it’s BV or thrush…The curse of hormonal inbalance!

  50. I used to have cystitis often…especially in college. I went to a urologist who told me that my urethra was very narrow. I remembered crying at times when I was a little girl because it hurt to pee.

    He dialated my urethra…it hurt like helll, but they probably have better methods now (I am 67), and I never had another bout of cystitis.

  51. Oh god it’s the worst isn’t it, I always seem to get it bad at night, there’s nothing like sitting on the toilet while everyone’s asleep surrounded by water receptacles for hours until your legs go numb is there?

    My tips are sitting in the bath and drinking as much water as possible, weeing and stewing in your own juices with free abandon, this is especially good if wees are razor blade-like.

    I usually don’t get burning wee, more like the wee origination area hurts quite a lot, for this hot water bottles are good, as hot as you can stand (get one with a cover or use a tea towel) one held between your legs and usually at least another one for your tummy or back or both if you have pain there or just for moral support, I get a painful bloated stomach for some reason.

    Oh also for a painful ‘area’ a bit of tea tree oil on the toilet roll cools it down some too.

    I don’t find those sachets any good and they are so disgusting, I think cranberry juice doesn’t probably do much but it makes a change from water when you’re in the thick of it. I usually take paracetamol and ibuprofen which takes the edge off a bit.

  52. I’m also a long time sufferer of bouts of this. I had them as a kid and now as an immuno supressed adult I tend to get them roughly once a year, sometimes twice. I have tried cranberry juice by the gallon, the sachets which do ease the sting some but don’t cure it, bicarb (but check this for yourself as it can have health implications so not really recommended but when you have cystitis you’ll try anything right), but I always end up needing antis and because of my knackered immune system the usual 3 days doesn’t cut it for me and I normally need at least 5-7 days worth. Luckily after so many recent desperate calls my regular docs now know this and give me a decent course which usually does the trick. I did find out on my last research bout when I had it that a large % of the tests in labs that they send off, come back negative when in fact they’re not and I verified this nugget with my GP last visit. Consensus is therefore if you are symptomatic they’ll treat you regardless, so if anyone gets fobbed off with the ‘but you labs test came back normal’, throw that little chunk of info at them and tell them you need treating. It is without doubt the most uncomfortable infection I’ve ever had, I’d go so far as to say I’d take a bout of thrush over it anyday of the week!

  53. I too can empathise and after continually getting it for a few months, i done some research and I now take woman’s probiotics and that has really helped me!

  54. I’m still recovering from the floor wipe comment. I’ve been there!

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who suffers. All these comments are so familiar!

  55. The only thing that has helped me in my 20 years of experiences with UTIs is Uro-Vaxom. It literally changed my life, as it seems to treat the causes, not the symptoms.
    I´m from Germany and did a quick check, it seems to be available in the UK.

    Quoting from this website:

    “Uro-vaxom is composed of extracts from eight pathogenic E. coli strains in a tablet. This is taken once a day for three months, stimulating an immune response from the body to prevent further infections. ”

    I do a round of that once a year, or every other year. Now when I get an inkling that something is up, I am actually able to fight off the beginnings of a UTI by drinking lots of water. Before I had to be put on antibiotics every single time, sometimes four times a year.

    • Absolutely agree with the Uro-Vaxom rec, haven’t had any cystitis since I was treated with it and that was more than ten years ago. Wholeheartedly, the best treatment I’ve ever had, I used to get bouts of cystitis at least twice a year. Now if they’d invent something similar for thrush I’d be elated.

  56. In terms of prevention, drinking enough water and never holding my pee in seems to help. I go to the toilet any opportunity I get even if I look like a crazy lady peeing every half hour!

    If the beginnings of an infection do kick in, painkillers and a hot water bottle held between my legs really help ease it a bit. You can also buy tablets on Amazon or in the US called Azo which really help too, and as an added bonus they turn your pee fluorescent orange – fun!

    I’ve suffered regularly since I was a teenager and it really is horrific…

  57. Cystitis is a bitch! My tips are – pee after sex (every time)!, drink heaps of water and take a cranberry supplement (70000 minimum) – cranberry has a property in it that helps to prevent bacteria sticking to the walls of the bladder which means you pee more of it out. I take 2 caps twice a day when I feel a bit of a sting and keep doing this for a few weeks and then drop down to 1 cap a day as preventative for a month or so – it usually works like a charm. Antibiotics are usually needed if the bacteria has really taken hold but if you keep taking antibiotics for repeated cases you can become resistant to them. If you do take antibiotics regularly then you must take a probiotic regularly as well. Hopefully this is helpful!

  58. I feel your pain. It turns out for me it is actually entirely my own body that causes them and means it can’t really get rid of them without months of antibiotics – both my kidneys are split in two and have separate collecting systems and ureters – which on one side one isn’t completely formed which is a pesky place where bacteria like to hide. The worst was 1.5 years of a uti which resulted in IV antibiotics which didn’t work and surgery to remove scar tissue.

    So the tip of drinking a shed load of water and herbal tea is by far the best I have to prevent getting them in the first place. Always need the loo but that’s a fine comparison to the pain. And peeing after sex. Always. And at the slightest twinge go straight onto antibiotics (I am lucky that the doctors now believe me after finding out what was wrong and so don’t wait to get me tested as by then it will be too late and be months to get rid of so I have a permanent stash of some horrible ones).

  59. Hey Ruth, I can totally relate to your extensive list. Very happy to say though that after suffering loads when I was younger (I can say cystitis in at least two other languages, and had a particularly lovely experience whilst travelling in Europe once, when I discovered I was allergic to the antibiotics the Italian pharmacist gave me for the horrendous cystitis and spent the next 36 hours projectile vomiting every few hours in an Athens hostal), I haven’t had it for years. For a while I drank cranberry juice every day (which was a bit of a pain as I don’t really like it so had to also buy orange juice to mix it with). However for the last 10 years I’ve been taking daily probiotics which seem to mean I don’t have to drink cranberry juice daily to prevent it. I swear by Optibac Every Day probiotics, one capsule daily (I empty it on my cereal but you can just take it in it’s capsule). If I ever run out or forget to take them away with me, within a couple of days if I engage in any of the activities on your list I can feel it starting (along with other fun stuff such as bloating and thrush – seems they’re all related to how happy my gut bacteria (eugh) are). Might be worth a try if you don’t already!

  60. I’ve never had cystitis, but I’ve had lots of other things. I thought cranberry juice was supposed to be the Holy Grail of UTI cures? Surely Dr Google hasn’t been lying all these years? Nice shoes, btw. Hope your sitting comfortably again.

  61. I‘ve had cystitis on and off since I turned 13. It‘s horrible, for me it‘s enough to sleep in and not having had enough water before bed to feel the burn during my morning wee.
    What helps me the best is „Solubitrat“ its a kind of herbal tea you get in pharmacies in Austria. It‘s a powder you mix with hot water and you just drink shedloads of it. I also sit in the floor of my shower and hold the showerhead to my bladder area, it really helps with the cramping when you have to pee, and since your in the shower you can just…you know, let it run i guess? i know. Disgusting. But it does really help!

  62. Cystitis is the actual worst. Back when I was a teenager and first having sex, I used to get it every single time I had sex, without fail. No one told me I needed to wee afterwards, I was just falling asleep!

    Anyone who says they can cure a UTI with the sachets are lying. I don’t even bother with them anymore, luckily our doctor’s receptionist is great, as soon as you mention a UTI she’ll find you an appointment, even if they were “fully booked” 30 seconds ago!

    • Oh God bless her! And how were we not TOTALLY put off sex as teens? I mean, if that happened now every time I honestly just would not bother.

  63. I’ve had cystitis at least once a year for 10 years – you have my complete sympathy! The first time I had it I didn’t know what it was and it developed into a kidney infection. 19-year-old me didn’t phone NHS24 until she was peeing blood clots. I cannot describe this pain.

    I’ve found a couple of ways to see it off at the first sign – the first is drinking pints and pints of water until you feel you are about to burst. Repeat as necessary. Add some D-Mannose into this and you’re normally onto a winner. But most of the time, I need antibiotics.

    My doctor has informed me that regular bouts of cystitis are normally “cured” by pregnancy…!

    • Oh my God, the blood clots thing just made me shiver

    • Ooh I had the blood clots. I passed out from the pain. Nhs got me an emergency community hospital appointment and people I were with ordered a cab as I couldn’t walk more than a few steps. They made me do the standard urine test (having already told them it was just blood) and so finally believed me when I came back with a bottle of blood – antibiotics right there and then.

      It took not clearing that infection for 1.5 years including stays in hospital with iv antibiotics for them to work out what was wrong with me. Pregnancy won’t cure it. Just stupid extra tubes between my kidneys and bladder.

  64. I have had cystitis on and off my whole life (now 36)- even got it when pregnant, and usually it also progresses to blood in my pee and then antibiotics. However I haven’t had antibiotics for a long time and I have found the only thing to ever cure me without antibiotics is a herbal supplement called Cystone. I found them whilst on holiday in Dubai. Bought them in Boots. You can get them on Amazon in the UK. Take one or two before or after sex and it usually stops it happening. If the symptoms start then take two at a time a few times a day and it usually cures it! I am the cystitis queen, have tried EVERYTHING.

    • OK great, I will get these today to have on standby! x

  65. Urghhh cystitis!! You and every suffererer has my profound sympathy – I suffered really badly in my twenties after first becoming sexually active, then I read a book by a UK author, Angela Kilmartin and it was a revelation – essentially, the old advice docs give about ‘wiping from front to back’ after a bowel motion is NOT enough, you must wash with soap and warm eater before any sexual activity. Another thing that’s really useful as a preventative measure is to take s probiotic specifically developed for the urogenital area, just as in the gut, it helps restore a good balance of bacteria, also helps to prevent thrush!
    Prof James Malone Lee in the UK is doing fantastic work with patients who have suffered chronic infections, that have become embedded. There is also a growing belief that the current dipstick testsvthe docs use is not nearly sensitive enough in some cases and is missing many infections, that subsequently become chronic.
    Thanks Ruth for drawing attention to this awful affliction, I hope people reading through these comments will find solace and help:)

  66. As a long-time cystitis survivor, I feel your pain. However, I had to smile when I opened my emails and read: “A Model Recommends: Things That Can Give You Cystitis”…. and then thought, now why in the World would she be doing that?!

  67. Two things. Pee after sex (thank you Catlin Moran!). Drink loads of water and teas (herbal too), so that you pee multiple times a day. Like, all the time. With these two rules I went from “so much pain at least once a month I have trouble walking and I’m not making it to appointments” to “a little pain few times a year when I forget to drink for a day and a half.” And given that you just said in a video that you drink very little, this might just do the trick for you.

    • It’s a life-long maintenance programme isn’t it? So dull! : (

  68. So true, you forgot “riding a bycicle with a skinny jean”.
    The little sachet does nothing for me, I always end up furadantine for a week. I asked for a box before leaving for my honeymoon so I would not end up in pain on an island XD
    My “cures” are :
    – trash any panty that is too small and that feels itchy/uncomfortable
    – Buy a good amount of coton knickers
    – Always have a wee after sex
    – avoid certain soaps (for me : bodyshop)
    – if a symptom appears, even if you’re not sure : drink plenty of water as soon as possible

    • Yes SOAPS! I forgot this one.

      • Nadine Baggot swears by perfum free soap for the foo foo area. I’m with her on that one.

  69. Just a thought, but have you had your hormones looked at? Given that all is well during pregnancy etc. it might mean that you are less dosed up on something in ‘normal’ times (oestrogen?). The perimenopausal and the menopausal can have more bladder problems due to the hormonal imbalance so it might be worth looking at?

    • Hmm, no hormones are all ok. But I did think of that! x

      • Being on the pill apparently also makes you much more prone to cystitis, have you considered that? I never had them until I started having sex which was rather late. Having a wee afterwards definitely helps as well as drinking tons of water. I have not had one in two years now, but at the very first feeling of something not being right down there I immediately take action. I usually take three times per day a German natural medicine called Cystinol Akut (2 dragees each time), keep myself warm and drink even more water. That helps the cystitis not even breaking out and I did not have to have antibiotics for years. Also taking Emser Salt helps, it makes the urine turn from sour into basic which first of all gets rid of this horrible stinging sensation when having a wee plus I find it is not the type of environment bacteria like. Hope this helps you and you feel better soon dear Ruth!

        • Oh thank you, all very useful! No, haven’t been on the pill for about – blimey – fifteen years maybe? x

  70. You poor thing, cystitis is horrific and you have my full sympathy.

    These days I totally agree with all the reasons listed above, whereas when I was much younger I would have only put it down to lots of enthusiastic sex throwing the old bacterial balance out of whack. I now know better.

    My most memorable case was having a twinge of it on Christmas evening and waking up with it on Boxing Day. Of course that was the year we were entertaining some of my husband’s side of the family so I just had to have some sachets to ease the symptoms and press on. It had been a few years since I’d had one, so I’d forgotten how bad it could be. By the time I woke up on the 27th I was properly ill and managed to get into an out-of-hours clinic for a prescription and then find a pharmacy open to dispense antibiotics. Did I also mention that it was my husband’s birthday and we supposed to be entertaining more of his family? I was so ill that ended up in bed, the party was moved to my in-laws. My poor husband spent his birthday wrangling our two small, over-tired children all day, and trying to prevent relatives from loading up our kids on lollies and junk food. Fun times for everyone!

  71. This article made me cringe, recalling my many bouts of cystitis years ago.
    Cranberry juice has been my saviour in terms of prevention. Three years ago, after a particularly nasty episode, I started drinking it daily. I put a little bit into my water throughout the day, which makes the water taste great and, in turn, makes me drink more water.
    I’m happy to report, I have not had a single bout of it since then. Hooray!!!!
    Hope you find something that works for you!

  72. Wearing too tight jeans.
    Wearing too tight jeans with a g string or a thong.
    Wearing too tight jeans with no underwear.
    Wearing underwear that doesn’t at least have a cotton crotch.
    Taking bubble baths.

  73. Have you tried cranberry capsules Ruth? My friends hubby used to suffer terribly but he has being taking these everyday and seems to do the trick- something h in cranberries stops bacteria sticking to your urethra or something – worth a go anyway they are full of vitamin C also! X

  74. Sex in the shower or bath will certainly do it every time.
    Cheap bath products, this is a great excuse to get lovely stuff though.

    • Oh God, sex in the bath or shower: WHY. It’s so squeaky!!

  75. Oh Ruth, I can empathise, your list is SO spot on! But there is another cause… a “Very Special Occasion” … always, without fail, the dreaded cystitis arrives just in time to ruin the big event… many times I have ended up in A&E with a potential kidney infection instead of celebrating until dawn. Painful on so many levels. Great blog, by the way, sorry if you had to suffer for your art!

    • Thank God I’ve never had a kidney infection, I don’t think…I know people who just suffer continuously with infections and it’s completely debilitating! x

    • Very important to get medical advice if you are experiencing back pain (it feels like a horse has kicked you near the ribs!) and a high fever. An infection can spread from the bladder up into the kidneys quickly and suddenly you feel very, very unwell. Like the flu but worse! My GP gives me “emergency” antibiotics to keep at home (is this even allowed?!) and I buy the urine testing strips from the chemist. These are very useful as you can instantly check if you have blood, protein and white cells in your urine which means it’s a infection. That when I start the antibiotics and see the doctor . Sorry this is a long reply but kidneys are so important to look after !!

  76. It is the worst. OTC stuff does literally nothing. The last time I went to the walk in clinic for my ABs, the nurse on duty told me she got it ONCE A MONTH. I don’t know how she hasn’t killed a person, bless her.


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