Cystitis is a bacterial infection, where bacteria enters the bladder and sticks to the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder and out of the body). This condition is also known as lower urinary tract infection (UTI).
Cystitis is less common in men as they have a longer urethra than women, which means that bacteria has to travel for a lot longer to reach the bladder. However, it can be more serious and painful if not treated quickly. Mild cystitis usually clears up within three to four days when sufferers drink plenty of water, avoid alcoholic and caffeinated drinks, and take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
In men, cystitis more commonly occurs if the prostate gland (located between the penis and bladder) is enlarged. It could also be due to inflammation and infection of the prostate.
Men should not ignore the symptoms of cystitis as it can get serious if not treated quickly. Men should seek immediate medical attention to rule out anything serious.
In addition, an immediate consultation with a GP would be recommended if the following applies:
– Kidney or liver problems
– Prostate problems
– Low immune system due to other medications
Treatments most commonly prescribed for cystitis include antibiotics, such as Trimethoprim and Nitrofurantoin. Co-amoxiclav and Cefalexin are other antibiotics that are prescribed if bacteria are still resistant to the infection.
This is one of the most common antibiotics prescribed for cystitis.
Dose: 200mg twice daily. The treatment is usually for a period of three to seven days.
Warning: If an allergic reaction, such as swollen lips and/or breathlessness occurs, stop treatment immediately and consult your doctor. Antihistamines, such as Piriton, Cetirizine, or Loratadine can be taken to treat the allergic reaction. Your GP could also prescribe a different type of antibiotic.
Side effects: nausea, vomiting, rashes, itching are the most common side effects.
If you suffer from blood disorders, then this treatment should not be taken.
Another common antibiotic prescribed for cystitis. This antibiotic is also prescribed when Trimethoprim is not suitable for the patient, for instance, when an allergic reaction takes place with Trimethoprim.
Dose: 50mg four times a day for seven days.
Common side effects: anorexia, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. If the medication is taken with or after food, then side effects can be prevented.
Cystitis can often be prevented if:
– You abstain from sexual intercourse
– You avoid alcohol and caffeine drinks
– You avoid cranberry juice whilst suffering from the infection. This is important because during the infection, the bladder is very acidic (bacteria live under acidic conditions) and drinking cranberry juice will make the bladder even more acidic. Cranberry juice is consumed as prevention to the infection; not as a treatment.
– You drink plenty of water. Bicarbonate soda can be added to water to neutralise the acidity of the bladder. Men suffering from high blood pressure should not add bicarbonate soda as that can increase the blood pressure.
– You take painkillers