Incontinence Advice

Learn how to control and prevent cystitis. (Bladder infection)

Cystitis, bladder infection, is a common issue that affects many people. In this article, we will discuss effective strategies to control and prevent cystitis while maintaining optimal urinary health. If you experience issues with urinary incontinence then we have plenty of incontinence pads for women and incontinence pants for women which can be used to help you manage your condition.

Cystitis is a common yet irritating urinary tract infection (UTI) that can cause discomfort. Its symptoms include pain or a burning sensation when passing urine, feeling unwell, fever, and the frequent passing of small amounts of urine, that afterwards feels like the bladder is still full. When this occurs action should be taken to address this, such as looking for effective treatments or natural solutions to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

The best way to deal with cystitis is prevention. Therefore, by understanding what cystitis is, its causes, and symptoms, we can take steps to avoid it from happening frequently.

Causes of cystitis (bladder infection)


Cystitis is a urinary tract infection (UTI) that is often caused by bacteria. It tends to be common in women more than men, mainly due to some anatomical differences. 

The female urethra, through which urine passes, is shorter than the male urethra and is situated closer to the anal opening. This makes it easier for bacteria from faeces to reach the bladder and cause an infection. Although less frequent, cystitis can also affect men, especially those suffering from enlargement or inflammation of the prostate.

It’s important to be aware of the potential triggers so you can take steps to prevent or treat this uncomfortable condition. Here are some common causes:

Stress – High levels of stress can weaken your immune system, which can make you more vulnerable to getting infections. Click here to learn more about how stress affects your bladder & gut.

Long-lasting antibiotic therapies – Extended use of antibiotics can disrupt your body’s natural balance of bacteria, potentially leading to cystitis.

Poor personal hygiene – Not maintaining proper cleanliness can increase the risk of bacteria entering the urethra and causing infection.

Strong intimate cleansers – They can irritate the sensitive tissues of the urinary tract.

Using tampons and other internal absorbents – Tampons sometimes cause irritation and make infection more likely.  


What are the symptoms of cystitis?


Are you experiencing some discomfort while peeing? Let’s see if it could be cystitis. The most common symptoms of cystitis/bladder infection are:


  • Pain, burning, or stinging when you pee
  • Needing to pee more often and urgently than usual
  • Urine that’s dark, cloudy, or strong smelling
  • Pain low down in your stomach
  • Feeling overall unwell  

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to consult your GP for a proper diagnosis and treatment.



Natural remedies that can help


When the first symptoms of cystitis appear, it is good to talk to your doctor who will recommend a urine culture test and may prescribe antibiotic therapy. Some natural remedies may also help counteract the symptoms of cystitis:

  • Drink plenty of water to help the body to flush out the infection.
  • Take warm baths but avoid soap and perfumed products as these may irritate the bladder.
  • Avoid tight clothing.
  • Use cotton linen.
  • Take lactic ferments to rebalance the intestinal flora.
  • Cranberry supplements may be useful because they have an anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Take simple over the counter painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen.
  • Do not hold urine for too long.
  • Follow a healthy and balanced diet.
  • Avoid alcohol, coffee and fruit juices as these may irritate the bladder. Learn more about how alcohol affects your bladder here

What to Eat when you have cystitis?


It is important to follow a healthy diet, especially in the case of an irritated bladder. The health of the bladder is also influenced by the functioning of the intestine, so it’s important to eat probiotic foods as they support the immune system. These foods contain "good" bacteria and are fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, kimchi, and kefir.

In addition, it is recommended to eat foods with an anti-inflammatory effect and foods that will support the immune system, including:

  • Fruit: Blueberries, currants, and kiwis their anti-inflammatory effect. Watermelon and pineapple are recommended for their high potassium-content.
  • Vegetables: especially the ones rich in water such as salad, cucumbers, chard, and celery. It is preferable to consume vegetables with little sodium but rich in potassium such as: cauliflower, fennel, carrots, lettuce, broccoli, spinach.
  • Garlic and onion for their antimicrobial properties.
  • Whole grains
  • Fresh cheeses with low fat and aged
  • Fresh fish

Tips for preventing cystitis


Did you know that by incorporating preventive measures and natural remedies into our lifestyles, we can minimise the impact of cystitis on our daily lives and maintain optimal urinary health? Prioritising prevention and addressing symptoms in time can lead to a healthier, more comfortable life free from the burdens of cystitis. Here’s what you can do:


  1. Choose Gentle Personal Care Products

    When it comes to cleansing your intimate area, go for plain and unperfumed varieties of bubble bath, soap, and talcum powder. Avoid using products with strong fragrances that could irritate the sensitive tissue. Overall, just water is the best choice.


  2. Switch to showers

    Choose showers over baths to minimise prolonged contact with the chemicals found in cleaning products. This simple switch can reduce the potential for irritation and help keep cystitis at bay.


  3. Urinate regularly and completely

    Respond promptly to the urge to urinate and ensure you empty your bladder completely each time. This practice helps flush out any bacteria that might be present and prevents their multiplication, reducing the risk of cystitis.


  4. Stay hydrated

    Drinking enough water is crucial for maintaining good urinary health. Adequate hydration may help hinder the growth of bacteria in your bladder, so make sure to stay well-hydrated throughout the day.


    While cranberry juice has long been recommended for preventing cystitis, recent large-scale studies have indicated that its impact is not significant. Therefore, it may be worth exploring other preventive measures to reduce your risk effectively.


  5. Choose breathable underwear
    Choose underwear made from breathable materials like cotton instead of synthetic fabrics such as nylon. Avoid wearing tight-fitting jeans and trousers, as they can create an environment which encourages bacterial growth.
In conclusion, by learning about what causes cystitis, its symptoms, and how to prevent it, you can reduce its impact and keep your urinary health in check. By using natural remedies and taking proactive steps to prevent cystitis, you can lead a healthier and more comfortable life without the hassle of dealing with this condition.

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