Cystitis or a urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria travel along the urethra and stick to the bladder wall. Common symptoms include burning when passing urine, needing to pass urine often or discoloured, cloudy and smelly urine. More severe infections may cause fever, nausea, vomiting, blood in the urine or lower abdominal pain.
A mild infection may be relieved with a hot water bottle on the abdomen, drinking plenty of water and taking a urinary alkaliniser such as Ural. Antibiotics are often used for 3-5 days to decrease the risk of the infection spreading. Symptoms should improve within 2-days of starting them.
A new product, Macrobid is now available through many Pharmacists for women 16-65 years for uncomplicated infections. Macrobid contains Nitrofurantoin in a modified release capsule. If your Pharmacist thinks it is the correct treatment for you, you’ll take one capsule twice a day for 5-days. It is important to complete the course, even if you feel better before it is finished. It is usually well tolerated but side effects can include dark yellow/brown urine, nausea and upset stomach. Take the capsules with food and let your Doctor know if you experience other side effects.
Nitrofurantoin is now recommended as the first treatment for uncomplicated UTIs, but Trimethoprim (another antibiotic) is also available from your Pharmacist if it is unsuitable for you. You can also take Paracetamol or Ibuprofen to manage pain and try these simple steps to prevent infections, including:
- Drinking water.
- Going to the toilet when you need to, after sex and emptying your bladder each time.
- Avoid baths, perfumed body products and using diaphragms or tampons.
- Increase your fibre intake to avoid constipation.
- Using toilet paper, wipe from front to back.
- Wear underwear made from natural fibres, as these allow the skin to breathe and reduce sensitivities.