Cystitis is pretty much the worst thing about being a girl, but here’s 8 things that’ll make it better

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Cystitis, or bladder infections, have plagued my body since I was five years old. Then, i’d curl up in a ball in the garden and stay there until I felt confident I could make it to the toilet without weeing myself, now I just whimper, take 5am baths and constantly Google all the reasons why I might be getting the recurring illness. Naturally, now I have cancer, kidney stones and a generally broken urinary tract. (Disclaimer: I don’t have any of the above).

Call it over sharing to discuss my urethra with you, but the chances are you’ve suffered from this vile infection and you know the distress, agony and discomfort I’m talking about.

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Now, because I’m such a self-confessed expert in the field (alongside two friends, one who has interstitial cystitis, and another who may have reflux problems with her bladder), I’m compiled a list of what actually makes you feel better.

1. BathΒ 

I feel like this is so blindingly obvious, but I only came to be aware of how much of a saviour this is recently. I wish I’d known that sitting in a hot bath where you have the ability to just sit and wee yourself repeatedly is the best thing ever all those times I sat crying on the toilet at 2am. Honestly, try it, there’s nothing quite as soothing. I frequently make my boyfriend run me middle-of-the-night baths when my cystitis pangs wake me up.

2. Bicarbonate of sodaΒ 

Most times I get cystitis now, it requires antibiotics. But when you first feel those niggles coming from your wee hole, drink a pint of water with a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in. It almost instantly stops your wee being so acidic and the bacteria stopping to the walls of your urethra. If you’re quick enough, it’ll stop the growth of the evil bacteria ASAP.

3. Distract yourself

It’s easier said than done, but keeping your mind busy will help you stop focusing on the pain. I’ve been known to play Scrabble, but games are definitely better than daytime TV at occupying your mind. Although the pain from a bladder infection hurts, it’s more the discomfort and burning that makes it Hell, which CAN be forgotten about – sort of.

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4. Avoid tea, alcohol and sex

I’m rubbish at giving things up – especially alcohol. Because I drink up to 5 times a week, cutting it out for long enough for the antibiotics to actually work is a real struggle, but you’ll instantly notice the symptoms creep back if you relapse. Every morning wee after sex or drinking (when you haven’t cleared the infection) will feel like people are sticking tiny daggers on fire into your private parts. You’ve been warned.

5. No french knickers

I ditched the lace pants in 2011, when I read online that the friction from them can help spread bacteria and cause cystitis, and I have to say, I’ve definitely noticed the difference. YES, my boyfriend has to put up with cotton bloomers from Primark, but at least I haven’t got cheap faux-lace rubbing up my wee hole the wrong wah. Eek.

6. Wee after sex

It just makes sense doesn’t it? Use the force of a good wee to knock out any bacteria that’s entered you during the deed. Sexy.

7. Hot water bottles

On your back, on your vagina, just around your person somewhere – wherever you put a hot water bottle it instantly soothes. It’s half a comfort thing as much as a pain reducer, and it’s particularly handy if you HAVE to be in work and can’t have a nice urine-filled bath.

8. Pyjamas and bed

Because my symptoms often come and go depending on whether I’ve taken painkillers, how much water I’ve drunk and the stage of infection, I’m often plagued with guilt about taking time off work/cancelling plans because i’m not in agony 100 per cent of the time. Treat yourself and stay home. Clean, loose-fitting pyjamas and bed will make you feel more comfortable, despite the, err, discomfort in your lady region. Plus, all the rest will help you fight the nasty bacteria quicker. People call in sick for much less debilitating problems than an angry bladder…

And if anyone else has any amazing tips, tell me now please. My current wee sample says no infection but traces of blood and I still hurt.

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  • I appreciate this post immensely!

    • Can I please second this. I notice that this post has had 29 views today already – TOO RIGHT! Thanks for talking about it like this. I was actually just Googling ‘how to talk to boyfriend about cystitis’ and your page came up, and here’s your boyfriend running baths for you! You’ve given me some confidence in talking about it. I sacked off college this morning and am currently nursing a bacon sandwich in my cosy pj’s in bed with iPlayer. Will be following your blog πŸ™‚ x

      • WL

        I have felt that pain. It was one of the most awful, upsetting illnesses I have had. I spent so much time in tears. A doctor recommended to me that to alleviate the burning when urinating you should rub Vaseline around your urethra as it provides a barrier between your skin and the burning urine. I really felt that helped me, so wanted to share.

      • I have it every day and it’s so bad πŸ™ It stops me from seeing my friends and u never go downstairs I just stay in my room, it’s embarrassing to talk to my mum about it and I do but not every day. I’m scared to go to my doctors because I don’t want them touching me. please anyone reply with help ?

      • Carol

        You have t mentioned the main thing other than anti biotice that works… Like magic. It’s called D mannose. Ironically it’s a sugar(different sugar) that makes it to the bladder and all the bad bacteria goes for it , gets hooked onto it the. Is flushed out in urine….google it, it’s the only thing getting g me through the day since this thing started 6 months ago… It’s expensive but more important than food these days… Good luck. Carol .

      • Lindsay

        Hoping Chloe’s not still suffering, but just wanted to say that I’ve never been physically examined when I’ve gone to the GP with cystitis, they just need a wee sample, so don’t be put off going. You could damage your kidneys by not getting it treated. Good luck x

    • Sophie T

      Hi ladies
      How I feel the pain – right now In fact –
      After years of suffering I finally found the “overnight “cure – for me
      Fosfomycine – 1 sachet 3 g as soon as you feel the 1 Stabbing pains at the end of peeing
      For me causes = white wine , not drinking enough water and sex
      It has just hit me again on holiday after a good 6 clear months – but my gynecologist in France gives me a supply so I always keep in wash bag – along with Charcoal pills ( which French pharmacy used to give years ago – helps to absorb the acid)
      Good luck and will definitely try the bicarbonate too

    • Marian Lawrie

      I am a mature woman and have suffered with this horrible problem for years ,recurring after a few weeks .or maybe a couple of months …tried cranberry tablets full strength ..but I’ve always had to
      Have a course of antibiotics .sometimes 2 different prescriptions …recently I discovered a tablet called D-MANNOSE …..I couldn’t believe it …right away it sticks to the bacteria in your bladder and when you drink water it flushes it out your body ..I ts fantastic I took 3 x3 a day for 5 days ….though it had gone after a few hours of taking it ….now I take 3 tablets a day spread out ..my last infections was at the end of April that’s when I discovered D-Mannose …I can’t say enough about it ..

      • Irene

        Where do you get D Mannose?
        From the doc, pharmacy or health food shop?

      • Lucy

        I agree! After years d-manoose is great! I get mine from amazon!

    • Sam

      Me too!!! I am on my 6th infection…well just finished another dose of antibiotics the other day . Went out last night and this morning …I’m in agony so drinking plenty , taken some sachets , painkillers , hot water bottle the lot. It’s depressing and won’t go ….I don’t know if it’s alcohol or sex doing it :(. Had a scan on my kidneys… they are OK and they are now talking about referring me to a urologist?. Anybody else had this and why ?. It’s so bloomin hard πŸ™ feel for any women in this nightmare too x

      • Lucy

        I had this 2, after suffering recurrent infections for about 10 years. About 3 years ago it got so bad it was taking over my life! I went to see a urologist who said i had cyst on my kidney – that in fact was not the problem! I then had a cystoscopy to take biopsys from my bladder which diagnosed interstitial cystitis. Following this i had low dose antu bis (for 12 months) and regular bladder washes. 3 years on, i would say i’m about 80% better which given where i was is amazing. I too take d-manoose which i think is great, i’ve also had acupuncture which i think was a huge help and worth the expense. When i was really bad, i wasnt able to wear trousers or jeans because of the pressure on my bladder! That is no longer the case! I echo all the recommendations, reduce booze, sugar, wear cotton underwear, baths are a must! Loose fitting clothes and weeing after sex is also essential. I’ve also become de-caffeinated which must have helped too! Mine is worse around my time of the month so i take especial care then!

  • You are hilarious, I love you

  • Completely feel your pain πŸ™ I suffer with this fairly regularly and it’s something I wouldn’t wish on anyone! I’ve found it physically impossible to distract myself though, I tend to just cry constantly for days and irritate everyone else until my antibiotics have gotten rid of it

  • Nicola

    I used to suffer exactly the same as you with this but I found that the following helps soo much.

    After sex don’t just wee you also need to take a 500ml pop bottle and fill it with water as warm as you can stand it and pour it over your lady area, repeatedly. Then drink the pint of water with bicarb, don’t wait for the twinges to come do it every time after sex. (It sounds like a mahoosive chore but it’s worth it so much. I haven’t had antibiotics for it for over a year now.)

  • Lucy

    Avoid sugar! I had a bout of this pesky affliction on a holiday to Cuba. We were in an all inclusive resort and it had almost cleared up when I had a bad run in with the “bottled” water so switched to the fizzies to be safe which is ironic because I never drink pop at home as I don’t really like it. The infection got loads worse and wouldn’t clear up. I found out later that sugar makes it lots worse. I’d ruined my holiday and I hadn’t even enjoyed myself doing it.

  • Lou

    Have you tried taking a concentrated cranberry extract to just boost the health of your bladder and urinary tract? A friend of mine swears by it. Get better quick!!

  • Cranberry Juice is good at calming it.

    • I would stick to cranberry extract as a preventative as it works for some but I would never ever drink fruit juice of any kind during a UTI. The high sugar and acidity content encourages bacterial growth and will aggravate inflammation.

  • Emmie

    I hear ya. I have interstitial cystitis which made me want to remove my own bladder for a bit until it got sort of sorted out with prescription meds and witchcraft (supplements bought off the internet). Still flares up occasionally and by god there is *nothing* quite like the particular torture of cystitis though, is there? NOTHING. When you meet someone else who’s had/has cystitis it’s like meeting a fellow Nam vet – the horrors only we know about. Get well soon cystitis sista

    • Lottiebb88

      Hi there, what meds have you been taking!? I’ve had repeat infections since July and it’s got worse and worse and had a constant infection now for four weeks and can’t shift it! Nitrogurantoin worked at first but it is just dulling down the pain now. Any advice would be amazing xxxxx

  • Thank you for posting this! I’ve been suffering from cystitis since I was about 7 years old and although I knew that baths helped and alcohol, sex and strong soaps didn’t, I knew nothing about drinking tea (which I do a lot) and your other advice. I appreciate this immensely and thank you for being bold enough to write about this!

  • Kayley

    If your sample shows blood but no infection then there’s no infection, my uroligist says that ANYTHING can show up as ‘blood, for example soaps and shampoos, and they generally don’t count it. You could have thrush from the antibiotics, which is just as painful if it’s severe (they’re very strong antibiotics which can lead to a very nasty and sore yeast infection) x

  • lynndunning2013

    I would advise you to look into the biofilm theory of chronic bladder infections. There are two doctors in the UK that work with chronic infections like this. One is private and the other is public. COB has information on these, or you could also email me.

    • Valleri Jillard

      Hello , I’ve suffered from bladder problems for years and have had all sorts of tests to no avail . Generally antibiotics work but I keep getting infections . I would like to be able to live without bladder problems so I’m very interested in the two specialists you recommend . Please could you let me have their details. Thank you ? Valleri

      • Lynn

        Hi Valleri

        I am so sorry this is so late but only saw this post now. Somehow I never got an email alert to let me know you had replied to me. πŸ™ Anyway, the public consultant is Dr James Malone-Lee. He is is London, but sees patients from all over the world. He sees patients both publicly and privately and has a whole team working with him. He is amazing!

    • Zoe

      How do I get in touch with these doctors please?

  • Sarah

    After years of agony my aunt (who suffers the same) told me that there is no other way around this than taking an antibiotic every time you have sex (or just before is even better). I demanded to see a consultant urologist – for some reason GPs are soooo precious about referring you on in this country. TELL them your life is a misery and that’s what you need and they will just prescribe it to you. Sounds extreme but I have never had a bout since. I can honestly say it’s changed my life. I would take whole courses but it would just come straight back. Mark my words!!!

  • I’ve started suffering recurrent infections and sex & alcohol set it right off! Essentially the more times you have cystitis and the more severe it is, your bladder and urethra become scarred and sensitive, making it more likely that the tiniest change in acidity or bacteria levels can set everything off again! There is also a school of thought that repeat sufferers are actually having one long infection that won’t clear up but I don’t think that applies to me. It’s also worth noting that my GP told me that they look for blood/Leukocytes (white blood cells) as signs of infection because lab and dipstick analysis are actually not great at picking up UTIs. I drink lots of water, never hold in a wee and always shower before and after ‘the deed’. It seems to help but isn’t foolproof.

  • Maddie

    Totally agree with Emmie, reading this post and its comments have made me feel like a normal human. As a hyperchondriac anyway, cystitis often leaves me lying in bed feeling sorry for myself, googling bladder/ovarian cancer and contemplating whether I have some sort of hideous STI. Drinking lots of water and cranberry is definitely the way forward. You can buy the cranberry extract as a squash to dilute with water which has much less sugar and is recommended for people who actually suffer with cancers of the bladder and prostate etc. Obviously don’t compromise your sex life, but (sounds disgusting), having clean hands, actually being ready for sex (hope everyone knows what I’m insinuating here) also helps. Thank you Hannah for being frank and honest about this horrible aspect of being a female. Hopefully my Internet history will now be filled up with your blog posts rather than the NHS choices website. Maddie xxx

  • I also like the above ladies, suffer hell of a lot from constant UTI’s. I remember I had 4 in 2 months and it was literally hell. It was so bad that words can’t even describe. I’ve learnt to deal with them a lot better since. Drink lots and lots and LOTS of water, whether it be Cranberry extract (the Dr actually recommended me this, apparently helps bacteria to be flushed out) or just water. The more you drink the easier it is to wee.

    Ibuprofen. It helps with anything that’s swelled. As does the hot water bottle trick.

    And above all, avoid anything at all with caffeine, coffee, tea, hot chocolate coke etc. Caffeine strains the bladder making it a lot more sore. I’ve actually had to cut caffeine out of my life completely as I find it’s a big trigger for me – and try find out what your main triggers are (like for me mine is caffeine, sex and putting off weeing for more than half an hour – I do actually have something wrong with my bladder and I’m at the point where I can’t even put it off for 5 minutes haha!), finding out your triggers is a major part in changing your life, it certainly was for me.

    And please demand help from your doctor. I’ve been at a specialist for 2 years now (I’m not really any further with getting help but that’s good ol’ Lincolnshire for you!) but I feel better now that I’ve sought out the help that I deserve to get.

    I admire you for being so frank, and so so honest. Being a female 80% of the time sucks.

    Lou xo

  • Kate

    Hi Hannah!

    I also have IC, its such a confusing disease!
    and I think it is only one people understand when they have it!!
    the pain can be unreal!

    I think i’ve done everything in your list, I do think putting your mind on something else defiantly helps!

    it sucks all the good things in life bring it on though..sex, alcohol, bad food πŸ™

  • Pd

    D mannose!! Actually amazing – it’s expensive but I take it when i feel a twinge or have been lazy about peeing after sex. Often stops an infection before it takes hold, and can really help remove it. Really a life saver. Cranberry pills too – but d mannose is the bomb. Havent had an infection for months.

  • Nicola

    I really feel your pain , I end up with cystitis regularly from being young, I always drink ridiculous amounts of cranberry when I have a flare up πŸ™‚

  • maisie

    you guys are great and I’m glad we’re all in this together. Here’s my list repeat offenders:
    CAFFEINE, alcohol, sugar, sex. I feel like I’ve had to alter my whole lifestyle. Has anyone heard of D mannose tablets? Apparently more effective than antibiotics, plus you don’t want to be taking too many of the anti-b’s as the bacteria could become immune.

  • I never believed I would find a cure or anything to help mine. Since being a child I’ve had this, and found last year the wonder that is D mannose as previously mentioned. I wanted to buy anyone that has IC this stuff, it’s seriously a miracle worker. It’s 100% natural and basically concentrated sugar that when it passes through you, draws out all the bacteria. As soon as I get a twinge, I take this. As soon as I know I haven’t drank enough during the day, I take it. And the best thing is as it’s natural, you don’t have to rely on strong antibiotics which my doctor and the nurses I used to see were becoming more and more stingy with giving out. I highly recommended it to anyone that finds IC really debilitating.

    I spoke to someone about why it wasn’t more readily available, especially on the NHS, and apparently it’s to do with the pharmaceutical companies losing so much money they make on antibiotics if we all take D mannose when we get infections. Pretty darn annoying if you ask me- so I just order mine online.

    Lizzy from Nomad Notebook

    • hannahgale9

      Will definitely be remembering this one for my next flare up. Thank you! So ridiculously stupid the way pharmaceutical companies have so much power over our health :(:(:(

  • Jeannie

    Gosh, here I am in the middle of the night, finally surfacing from the intense pain and discomfort of an attack and searching for help. Even though I have suffered all my adult life, sex brings it on almost every time. I have a repeat prescription for antibiotics and that has been a life changer. For some reason it didn’t work this time, I took it before instead of afterwards. Hey ho, won’t do that again. Now I am 58 it seems white wine sets it off too, boo hoo. Appreciate your blog and feel all your pain. Just found this recipe, think I would prefer it warm though.

    Makes six glasses
    300 ml/1/2 pint cranberry juice
    235 ml/8 fl oz cloudy apple juice
    100ml/1/4 pint freshly squeezed orange juice
    1 tablespoon cider vinegar
    1 cinnamon stick
    2 cloves
    2 strips lemon zest
    600 ml/1 pint carbonated mineral water, chilled
    4 ice cubes
    Place the cranberry, apple and orange juices, vinegar, cinnamon stick,
    cloves and lemon zest in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil and then remove
    from the heat. Cover the pan and allow it to stand for several hours.
    Strain the juice into a jug and fill with it with the chilled mineral
    water, adding the ice cubes, too. Serve chilled.
    Jane Clarke(BSc SRD), sees patients at her Nutritional Consultancy; 29 Frith
    Street, London, W1V 5TL, Tel 020 7437 3767.
    Share or comment on this article

  • Hannah B

    Thankyou girls, reading this makes me so happy I’m not alone! Been plagued with cystitis since I was a kid and I know that middle-of-the-night, tearful, utter desperation that comes with an attack of it.

    A combination of paracetamol, bicarb, fruit & barley and hot water bottles (agreed, anywhere & everywhere that helps) are my usual Kryptonite in these situations.

    Hadn’t heard the bath idea before but it helped a lot at 3am. Getting onto D-mannose and cranberry capsules ASAP.

    Hope you all find something that helps you to get rid of this for good – it SUCKS! Xx

  • karina

    Cranberry pills from Holland and barret… They don’t eliminate it completely (hence I am writing from a tube filled with hot water) but they seriously reduce it – discomfort once per 4-5 months instead of the usual at-least-once-a-week thing…

  • katie

    Ladies, thank you so much for all your honesty! I’ve been too embarrassed to go back to the doctors after being told twice this month that I had no detectable infection and just had ‘honeymoon’ cystitis. Also gone through the bladder cancer / permanently damaging bladder and urethra / interstitial cystitis and have been relying on ibuprofen, cymalon and cranberry juice. Mine seems to be so much worse in the morning and then fine at night. Lovely to be taken seriously and see that this pain is not just in my imagination! Hugs to all!
    Katie xxx

  • Paula

    Waterfall d mannose in powder form rather than the capsules are the way forward ladies. I’ve just woken up with another nasty bout & head straight downstairs to mix some up with a glass of water & a couple of paracetamol. I like many others often got told by my GP that there was no bacteria present in my urine (& therefore they wouldn’t prescribe me anything) I put this down to drinking a gallon of water before managing to get to the Dr’s – as by the time your appointment roles around you’ve been suffering a good few hours/days anyway & as I’m sure we all know drinking water so that we actually have something to pee out rather than feeling like you need to go & then sitting on the toilet for a dribble of pure fire is definitely preferable. I don’t suffer quite as much these days (since I’ve found the holy grail d mannose) but prior to this my life was a misery – I was even put on a low dose of antibiotics the entire way thru my pregnancy as being pregnant appeared to be a trigger in itself. Agree with all of the advice above though re caffeine, sex & alcohol (I personally don’t feel that any form of cranberry makes a jot of difference to me though). Anyway that’s my 2 pennies – just off to spend yet another, lol!

  • Caitlyn

    Wow, not only was i crying while reading this (because my cystitis is back AGAIN) I was also laughing. You are spot on right about the urine filled bath, honestly thought i was the only person that did that. Reading this makes me feel better about myself (so thank you) because i know now that I’m not the only person thats suffering.
    Basically my life is ruined from cystitis, I’ve even had a quit a job because of it and because i wasn’t getting enough breaks to go to the loo in. My job now is fab because i can run off to the loo at anytime and i also get an unlimited amount of drinks.
    My sex life is ruined… At 17 i should be experiencing all kinds of things. But instead before sex i question myself and ask is it worth getting Cystitis over. For me and this pain. ITS NEVER WORTH IT!!!!!
    I swear by cranberry juice, i try and keep a secret stash for ‘just in case’.

  • Michelle

    Hello Ladies.
    I have suffered terribly for years with the god awful condition. I still suffer now, but I have discovered a miracle worker called “Barley Grass powder” – every morning my husband makes me a glass and I drink it before I go too work. I can honestly say it has CHANGED MY LIFE.
    A friend of mine recommended it to me as her private doctor suggested it for another condition she has. I tried it, because it is supposed to give you energy.

    I was shocked when I felt no pain anymore. If I stop taking it, it just comes back. Barley grass is a natural super food and it truly amazing. Honestly give it a go. I brought mine on Ebay and have never looked back.

    Good luck

  • Kate

    Thank you all so much! I am another regular sufferer. Right now I am sitting on the bus with that dreaded niggle…A sore back, and that awful feeling you just can’t quite describe but makes you want to cry and unable to concentrate at work. I know it’s completely my fault. I worked out that cutting out coffee and caffeine completely cured my problems. But as a self confessed coffee addict there are times, like this weekend I think. .ooh a little latte won’t hurt…..oh yes it will!!! I agree about cranberry juice (unless it’s the extract) doesn’t work and is often full of sugar that should be avoided at all costs where possible, and yes yes yes hannah and Caitlyn to that warm bath to wee in! A lot if moaning and groaning helps too whilst lying in the bath. Time to put Barley Grass and Waterfall d mannose on the shopping list, thanks for the heads up, and to really stop these caffeine relapses once and for all.

  • Kayleigh

    Thank you so much…currently sat on the toilet clutching a bottle of water in one hand, a hot water bottle in the other and waiting for the bath to run whilst googling how to get rid of, avoid & stop cystitis!

    Came across this post and it gave what will be a long night a smile!

    Defiantly going to try the D mannose!

  • I also came here thanks to the wonders of Google! Currently sat in a 6am bath drinking my 2litres with of water. although I’ve been known to sat in a bath at 2am thanks to this bitch of a disease!

    This is the first time I’ve had cystitis since before I was pregnant and I’d forgotten how painful it is! Thankfully I didn’t get it whilst pregnant – no in has thrush for 9 months instead!

    Honestly, between cystitis, thrush and period pains isn’t it fabulous to be a girl?!

    (PS thanks for the tips and sorry for my TMI comment!)

    • Laura Ashley

      Between cystitis, thrush, and period pains, it is truly fabulous being a girl, my thoughts exactly ='(

  • Jessica

    Morrisons do a cystitis medicine for like Β£2 girls! It’s cranberry flavour, a powder you mix with water and drink 3 times a day for 2 days. Instantly makes your wee less acidic and stops the pain while your body fights the infection – start taking it as soon as you feel symptoms coming on and you’ll be golden. It’s my saviour and I always have some in the cupboard

  • Shan

    Thanks this was helpful, though I did want to clear up something from the comments. Cystitis and I.C are really different things. I.C is not from bacteria, it is an incurable pain syndrome. Those of us who have this know that cranberry or any sugary fruit juice is bad news so stay away from that if you have true I.C. Bacterial cystitis however meana go for your life with your cranberry! πŸ™‚

    • Eve

      This is incorrect – the reason you don’t want sugar with a bacterial infection is because bacteria feed on sugar.

      • Gillian Matthews

        I have both types, and have been on low dose antibiotics for two years now. I am very interested in the D mannose tablets, as I am scared of being on anti b’s for so long. I am a Brit living in the US so hope I can get them here. I have had cystitis for over 60 years, and I wish I could have talked to you all before now. Thank you ladies!

  • Sophie

    Think you might have saved my life ladies! Have been up all night and literally can’t sit still. Have just raided the kitchen cupboard for bicarbonate of soda and then heading for a warm bath whilst clutching a hot water bottle. Vowing I will never have sex again!

  • Charlie

    Ladies you need to DEMAND to be referred to a Consultant Urologist by your GP! After a few consultations (they ask you for a urine sample everytime erm HELLO I have cystitis I can’t pee), mine then did an investigation under general anaesthetic that sounded gross and evasive but you just have to swallow any embarrassment – it involves measuring your urethra with a rod and seeing if its too narrow and if it’s allowing bacteria to build up, causing the infections and the pain. The urologist then may make it wider whilst you’re still anaesthetised. Again sounds terrifying but was pain free (you’re asleep) if a tad sore afterwards but was fine later in the day. The waiting list for a referral may be long but get on it.
    It was a great success for me, after years of tears, being bent double, cranberry juice, various diets, no tampons, no sex life, ruined holidays and green fishy urine. It is seen as a last resort though, may not be for everyone, and obviously one should never go under a general anaesthetic willy nilly.
    You have to be bossy with GPs and take command of your own body if they’re not giving you what you know you need. The doctor is not always right. If your GP is still not helping then ask to see someone else. They are hesitant to refer to specialists sometimes because they have tight budgets. But your urethra and ultimately your sanity and wellbeing cannot be costed. I was afraid to challenge my doctor at first but am now so glad I did.
    Feel free to comment below if you need anymore info.
    Charlie x

    P.S. Love the blog Hannah. Thank you for being so real and talking about real relevant stuff thats important to us 20 somethings, I would much rather read about cystitis remedies than some swanky Mayfair restaurant that I can’t afford.

    • Gillian Matthews

      Went through all of this and was still told they had no clue why I had cystitis. I have been on anti biotics now for 2 years. Even the so called experts can be stumped!

  • kelly

    I’m so glad people are openly talking about this. I find it hard to talk to people about it because I don’t think they understand how truly painful and stressful it is.
    Today has been spent sitting on a toilet wondering why me.. I’ve tried all the above but I’ve found the only thing that helps me is wearing lots of sock (the cold ground worsens my symptoms), drinking water until literally bursting, and tramadol (which makes me puke but better than the pain?

  • Leah

    I just need to rave about how good the waterfall d-mannose is. I suffered with constant urine infections for about 4 years until I found this miracle cure. Unfortunately I am currently suffering from the first bout I’ve had in about a year because I obviously thought I’d become immune to this hell and let myself run out of mannose-d (luckily the delivery is super quick, so the life saver should be here in the morning)
    Honestly though, anyone who suffers urine infections and hasn’t tried this stuff, go and buy it, it’s expensive but oh so worth it and I will never let myself run out of it again!

  • sarah

    It’s 5am and this post just made me feel normal! Thank you.
    I’ve only recently started experiencing this particular quirk of the anatomy but 5 times in 12 weeks is enough to bring tears to my eyes! Thanks for the tips and to the doctors I go

  • Hi I’m from South Africa ..been diagnosed with ict…it’s all new for me ..I don’t suffer pain ..just wee a lot and discomfort and been told it’s severe… I read one cannot use cranberry ? But I’m going to try it …what I do take is aloe juice ..it’s helped me a lot ..and boswellia tablets …mine is worse in the morning and sees a after sex…my trigger is cafiene…have cut it out my system …I sue coconut blossom sugar .and also drink room bos teas..a natural cafiene tea from South Africa …very interesting to see what helps thanks you

  • So sorry iPad went mad..it’s rooi bos tea..I’m sure u can find aloe juice ..that is amazing and alkaline as well.. I want to try these tabs manno..not sure if u get it in SA …I am wondering if not wearing underwear has affected me.. I hate wearing underwear ..but thinking know I may have to go buy the granny panties lol… I also had 6 cups offer a day ..that is a trigger …the sugar I have is coconut blossom sugar natural from the cane sugar …..sweeteners cut it out ..asparatine been a huge neg factor to… Anything that go preservatives is a no no..and yes good old bicarbonate now and again def helps thanks for all the tips ladies

  • Debra

    Wow so this made me feel a lot better reading this as I have suffered uti almost my whole life I’m now 27 years old I have two daughters 4 and 2 both of my girls are starting to suffer with this hideous hideous pain and needing to We often as both my girls arnt doing the deed I can’t only imagine it’s not wiping properly or not being clean? Iv spoke to my gp about both my girls and they don’t seem to take notice and they look at me like I’m making it up. They don’t drink caffeine and drink as much water as they can due to them having a love of Blackcurrent and orange juice but I do try a lot to altering there drinks I can honestly say I feel sick when there crying at my and saying there bits hurt as I’m full grown women and it makes me cry and hurt too as little girl this must be much worse my poor angels can any one help???
    I don’t suffer as much as I use to now but I’m currently sat on the loo writing this drinking loads water and bicarbonate of soda which Iv never tried before I do find distraction is fab but into few things keep me from not thinking about it my children are good distraction for me I’m now married to my husband and he l completely understand my wee problems I don’t drink caffeine I actually drink
    Caffeine free drinks good drinker of green tea and lots water but I do seem to have this hideous pain and infections once every 6-7months now I too get blood and every wee sample they find infection and another lot antibiotics for me which was costing me a lot money but money does by happiness after the deed I wee and clean my gp said I am regular with this infection as I am to clean which sucks as your down below bits is brilliant invention it’s self cleaning machine so being to clean sometimes can make it worse!!! But yet I’m still in pain sometimes I wish men could feel our pain sometimes not only do we have periods we have infections we also give birth!!!

    • Jennie

      Get them off the Blackcurrant asap! It’s very high vitamin C and I found when I gave it up about 13 yo I stopped suffering with cystitis. I can’t believe I used to drink pints of it to hydrate when I got an attack!

  • Elle

    Hi Hannah, I love your blog and have been reading for ages!
    I’m 18 and have suffered with Interstitial Cystitis since I was 13, and in the last year have been totally bed bound from it. I take morphine along with a bunch of other medication for it and I am hoping to possibly get my bladder removed soon! Posts like this bring some much needed humour to the bad days. You’ve also really inspired me to pursue my writing, so thank you muchly. <3

    Elle

  • Sara

    Omg!!! You’re introductory paragraph literally described what I am doing!! It’s 2am I’m in the bath and I’m googling symptoms for kidney stones etc and wandering whether to call NHS direct. Never had cystitis before and it’s now day 3. I will go to Drs tomorrow. Thank you for making me feel normal, (mentally not physically! I’m still in a lot of discomfort!!)

  • Thanks for this post! It’s nice to know you’re not alone!
    A nurse once told me that lemon barley water is good for it, since then it’s all I drink and I haven’t had it for a while now – it must be working!

    http://travellingthroughmytwenties.blogspot.co.uk

  • sally

    Thank you for this, this is the best cystitis ‘anything’ I’ve found on the web. I shall definitely be having a nice, hot ‘wee bath’ later, although I’m no sure I’m brave enough to tell hubby what I’ll be doing in it!
    I also find that blackcurrant tea helps to flush things through quicker and eases the fire pains and stomach inflammation. (Yes, I look 5 months pregnant now, I’m so swollen and sore.)

    Thanks again, you’re so helpful, sweet and entirely human! I feel better for having read this.

  • Babs

    I’ve had cystitis for about a month now and finished my third course of antibiotics 6 days ago. I thought it had gone, but yesterday it kicked off again πŸ™ I’ve been googling to see if there’s anything I can do to help myself and I came across this article: https://www.sweet-cures.com/e-coli-cranberry.htm which is making sense to me as I have tried cranberry to no avail. I’d always thought that the urine should be made acidic to kill the bugs, but now I’m thinking quite the opposite! I’ve just ordered some D-mannose and am praying it works because I just can’t hack taking antibiotics all the time.

  • Em

    Thanks so much for this post – so so helpful! Has anyone tried camomile tea? A nurse suggested it, apparently it has antiseptic properties, which help to kill off some of the bacteria…

  • Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for these tips. This post basically describes my life so far πŸ™ The only thing I can add is Cranberry tablets, triple extra double super strength ones. I take as many as allowed on the instructions when I am suffering, and a couple THE MINUTE I feel any kind of discomfort down there.

    Sophie | http://www.dreamsandcolourschemes.com

  • Marina

    Natural yoghurt! Eat as much as you can as soon as you feeling it coming and it will be better a few hours later but you need to keep eating it.

    Also.. Don’t have any vitamin c. That always makes me flare up.

    Oh and I’ve also just recently realised after starting on the pill again after a year of trying alternative contraception that it was in fact causing my cystitis. Heads up if any of you want to try coming off it and seeing if your cystitis goes. Doctors don’t agree but I’ve had a year free of cystitis and after 3 days of being on the pill… It’s back again!

  • Tashcw

    Hey, I suffered for 15 years, eventually going through an operation to stretch my urethra as well as kidney biopsies (yes, PAINFUL!). Then about 2 years ago someone recommended d-mannose. It’s a sugar based tablet that clings on to bacteria and therefore flushes it from your body. It is my LIFESAVER and has helped where even antibiotics can’t. Lots of brands sell it and you can buy it easily online. No side effects. Try it – it’s changed my life!

  • Flc187

    Everyone should try coconut water! It is the best thing for it. I have no idea why or how it works, but it really does.

    I have struggle with issues with my bladder for years also. I have been on a hamster wheel of treatment failure and illness. However when I fee really poorly coconut water does help the pain. Don’t think it gets rid of the infection but does help!!

    Happy coconuting

  • Alyssa

    Hi Hannah! I’ve also always had issues with my bladder growing up, and after I started having sex I pretty much had a UTI ALL THE TIME! Whether I would avoid sex or not! I completely understand the pain you are going through and have found success with the following regimen, although it’s been difficult for me to stick with it. However, as long as I do, I don’t have any issues with UTIs.

    1. Drink a lot of water daily. At least 6 to 8 full glasses. Add a bit of lemon juice for Vitamin C.
    2. Avoid sugar like the plague! This includes all sweets, bread products, sodas, and processed carbs. Stick with organic vegetables and meats and try eating fruits in place of sugar. Bacteria LOVE sugar and it will quickly worsen your infection.
    3. Pee immediately after sex. Sometimes I’ll get a UTI whether I do this or not, but it does seem to help. I’ve found drinking a couple of glasses of water after sex reduces the risk that I will contract a UTI even more.
    4. D Mannose! This supplement ONLY works on certain types of bacteria, but it seems to work for the majority of cystitis sufferers. It sticks to the bacteria and prevents them from sticking to bladder cell walls. It’s quite expensive (I pay $30 for a 2 weeks supply) but it’s still cheaper than having to see a doctor once a month.
    5. Take sodium bicarbonate at the first sign of an infection. This alkalizes your urine and discourages bacterial growth. I normally take Alka-seltzer tablets but you could also take a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water. I recommend taking this on an empty stomach.
    6. Avoid alcohol, recreational drugs, caffeine, and acidic foods. These seem to worsen a UTI.
    7. Avoid having sex until your UTI has cleared, because you may pass the bacteria to your partner, who may then pass it back to you later!
    8. Take a probiotic supplement daily. Plain yogurt or kefir works best for me, but you could also try probiotics in pill form. Lactobacillus seems to be the most effective probiotic at combating bad bacteria.
    9. Take a salt bath. Salt can destroy certain types of bacteria by popping their cell walls. I like taking a bath with a cup of sea salt. Magnesium salt or baking soda also works.
    10. Wear cotton underwear and avoid tight-fitting clothing like leggings.

  • I suffered for years , tried so many things then had a 4 month course of different antibiotics and that made a massive difference . But , top tip for me was to NEVER use any soaps no matter how SIMPLE and un perfumed they are I was recommended FemFresh and now very rarely suffer … Try it please I would love to think this helps someone as it’s such a horrid debilitating condition .

  • Karen

    I’m currently sat on the toilet with my bath running. I’ve been suffering for 16 years now. I have antibiotics to take after sex….I was brave and decided against yesterday – mistake!!!! I’m in total agony and on my periods too. I have no bicarbonate of soda to take so it’s just water for me. Hopefully when this bath is ready it should soothe some of the pain. This is really making me consider giving up on sex, it really isn’t worth this pain. Hope you are all feeling well now and it’s a comfort to know that there are women out there who can empathise with this.

  • Liz

    Reading this blog certainly makes me feel better as thank god I’m not alone – it’s definitely true that people who have never suffered with cystitis have no idea what we are talking about & I get the feeling they think I’m a crazy hypochondriac!! Have just started taking daily pro biotics & cranberry supplements which have eased my symptoms a bit – have already ordered some d mannose after reading your comments! Fingers crossed! One bit of advice I have is that I get a bladder soothing herbal tea from Neal’s yard which really helps when I feel the symptoms coming on & tastes a bit better than bicarbonate and water.

  • I’ve never suffered with this horrible disease, but for all those who do I feel your pain. πŸ™ It sounds absolutely horrendous, and from what I hear it seems like GPs are helpful (doctors can be useless sometimes.)

    However, I do have a few tips I could recommend, they might help (whether you have cystitis or not):
    – Wipe yourself from the front to the back after weeing – this is very important.
    – Take cranberry tablets (you can buy them from Holland & Barratt.)
    – I hear D-Manoose is really good for preventing the symptoms of cystitis, but I think you can only order them online.
    – Drink loads of water every day.
    – Don’t hold wee in for too long, go when you need to go, and try to schedule toilet trips.
    – Cut down on sugary drinks
    – Cut down on alcohol and caffeine.
    – Pee after sex.
    – Shower before and after sex.
    – Wear cotton pants – save the lace ones for a special occasion.

    I hope this helps!

    Chichi
    http://chichi-writes.blogspot.co.uk/

    • Sorry I mean to say that GPs are NOT helpful. I know the feeling! πŸ™

    • Also, when you wipe yourself when using the toilet, try to use fresh toilet wipes – Andrex and Lidl sell these.

  • Celeste

    Hey all! I’ve been getting cystitis since I was 6 years old maybe younger… I’m now 19 and hate it with all my being.. I don’t get it much anymore, but now and again I do and it’s the worst! It’s as if I forget how bad it is until it’s happening :///

    Anyway I have found a quick easy was to get ride of the pain; when finding out about the hot bath trick it was a life saver, but it was running up the water bill and was really annoying taking them all the time… Okay before you judge me remember I always your a ziplock bag over it and try to only use the bottle once… Anyway I fill a bottled water bottle (smaller the better) and fill it with hot tap water, then put it inside a sterile glove or ziplock bag… Then put it against my you know where.. Depending on how bad it is it stops very soon after, but relives pain almost insanity… Anyway if I only help one person it will be worth the judgment lol because this trick has pretty much been a miracle for me xx

  • K

    Delighted to have found this page and read ALL the comments. It is SO comforting to know I’m not the only one that suffers from this problem. I’ve been suffering for about four years and in the last few months the pain has been constant. The most distressing thing for me is the amount of time I have to take off work to try and see a doctor who doesn’t seem to give a crap. I’ve had to visit him relentlessly over the past year, missing lots of time off work just so that he will refer me to a specialist. I don’t count on them either tbh….

    Makes you wonder, if it was men who suffered with cystitis, would it have been cured by now? Probably…

  • Great to read comments from fellow ‘Cystas’. Makes me feel rather more normal and not quite so sorry for myself. I’m am currently nursing a horrid bout of cystitis probably caused by too much alcohol and great sex! Oops! Knowing the cause doesn’t help me now though. I’m trying to avoid antibiotics if poss (and it’s the weekend so doctors closed anyway) so am following advice from the surgery nurse. A couple of years ago, a week on antibiotics did nothing to help my cystitis (I’m allergic to Trimethoprim) so she advised drinking NOTHING but water and peppermint tea for two to three days. Guess what? It worked!! Just of to make myself another cup.

  • nicola

    it’s so refreshing to find something like this online! currently sitting in an excruciating hot batch have burn marks on my thighs and stomach from holding a hot water bottle on there for so long and still can’t find relief! heading to the doctors tomorrow but again they won’t think anything of it even though have had it since I was about 10 :/ think most GP’s put it down to ‘sexual activity’ instead of actually taking the time to look into how much pain ur being caused and why. antibiotics once more…just worried I’ll eventually become immune to these and will start to run out of options. good luck to all u guys! x

  • Thank you for such great tips! I suffer from this as well, but mine began around the age of 7. Anyway, I noticed that some said in the comments that cranberry juice is not good for the infection and although this is true for the average cranberry juice you purchase ( you know, like Welches here in America) there are some brands that have absolutely no added sugar. I drink these every time and it helps so much. But the kinds with added sugar do make it worse, so there is some research needed for that.

    Also, I changed my diet last year and committed to watching my sugar, alcohol and caffeinated drink intake. You would not believe how much this has helped. I now have a UTI maybe 2 or 3 times in the year, where I was having almost one each month. What I did was restrict myself from drinking anything caffeinated or sugary except for once a week (you know, for those baaaad days you just need that red wine or starbucks).
    Thanks again for the post! πŸ™‚

  • Sarah

    This article was brilliant. I’m currently suffering for the first time in years and I’m less than a week into a new relationship – how sexy!!! Which makes abstaining from the nooky incredibly difficult plus I’m on day 4 of no caffeine or wine. As they say – life is unfair.

    I’ve been taking the anti-biotics for 2 days now, still no sign of it going away. Begrudgingly necking bicarbonate in water (yuck!) but omg yes the relief of a bath is immense.

    The comedy in this post made me chuckle (which burned a little) so thank you!

  • AH JUST SEEN THIS POST AS I’M SIPPING CRANBERRY JUICE WITH MY LEGS CROSSED IN THE LIBRARY. CRANBERRIES WERE MADE FOR CYSTITIS… I’M PRETTY SURE IT’S IN THE BIBLE SOMEWHERE.

    Great post, and yes, always pee after sex.

  • Eve

    Lying in a hot bath, teary eyed, your post has cheered me up. I have also suffered with the dreaded C for years and each time forget that many other women do too. I also know my triggers, sex, alcohol and getting dehydrated. I’ve had a full course of the sachets you can buy from the chemist and tomorrow will go and hand in my wee sample to the docs. Even though I know I’ve been through this pain before you somehow forget and question WHY ME? Especially when non of the girls at my work suffer! I was so pleased to read your post and make me feel slightly normal. Thankyooooou

  • Reading the stories here brings it all back to me. After catching a parasite on holiday and after taking lots of antibiotics I was left with getting a bladder infection on an almost weekly basis. Eventually the infection went straight to my kidneys. i could not touch alcohol, acidic food, get tired and sex was a no go area. I lost a lot of weight and was constantly ill and exhausted. In the end even the strongest antibiotics stopped working and I was suffering from the side effects of taking those.

    In desperation I searched the internet and found d-mannose in a powder form. I never took antibiotics again. I took it a few times a day for around 4 months (this was as I had interstitial cystitis by then) Afterwards and now I just take the powder when I feel a twinge. For a year or 2, I took d-mannose before or after sex but no longer need to.

    Friends knew how ill I had been and I had people ringing me from all over the country asking my advice.

    Recently I decided to set up a company in my spare time, selling d-mannose in the UK called Pure & Me. I have sourced the purest source of d-mannose I could find, manufactured in the EU. It feels great to help people get their lives back. One of the reasons I set it up was to give money to charity each year and generate funds for that. There are other products that helped me and I plan to introduce those over the next few months.

    My doctor and consultant could not believe how I recovered though it did take a few months. At one point they discussed taking my bladder out! After 6 months of taking d-mannose I had to have a cystoscopy and there was no evidence of any scarring which suprised the consultant after my history.

    My message is don’t give up, find what works for you. I have put a list below of other things that really helped me. Now I get an infection only if I am very run down or ill with something else but fortunately I now know how to treat it so don’t need antibiotics. However if you suspect a kidney infection you must go and seek medical help.

    Things that helped;

    D-mannose to prevent or if I get an attack every 3 hours in a weak cup of tea. To get the best use of d-mannose take it in the middle of the night so it can really concentrate in your bladder. I prefer the powder to the tablets when the need is urgent.

    Drink plenty of water but not just before or after d-mannose so it can concentrate in your bladder.

    Homeopath remedy, berberis vulgaris, you can get this in chemists, if I get an attack I take these every few hours it helps flush it out.

    A pint of hot water and lemon every morning, this is the easiest way to alkalise the system. I also drink lots of hot water and lemon during an attack as I prefer this to baking soda which used to make me feel a bit queasy for some reason.

    Change your diet to alkaline foods as much as possible which is why I have included these on my website

    If you take antibiotics still take the d-mannose it will help flush it out, also take a very good probiotic from a health shop. You can tell a good probiotic as the health shop will store them in the refrigerated section and this is where you should keep them.

    As I got thrush as a side effect of all the antibiotics I discovered colloidal silver spray which I would just spray onto the affected area. I also took colloidal silver orally when I had kidney infections.

    Oregano oil can help for those whose infection is not being caused by e-coli. Though 90 per cent of infections are caused by e-coli.
    Oregano oil is a powerful natural antibiotic. Take a few drops in milk or dilute in a food oil. It is strong tasting but if you get a good brand the effect can be very powerful. I now use this for all sorts of infections and it is a staple in my medicine box.

    I hope this helps you as much as it’s helped me and others.

  • Wow, Hanna Gale this post was my lifeline last night. I was in such excruciating pain from cystitis and was despairing of ever feeling normal again. I ran a bath and kept myself entertained reading the rest of your blog, which is fantastic by the way! Got through it and almost feeling normal again….thanks for the post πŸ™‚

  • Jennie

    This is great to read, sat in the bath right now! Is there any way we can contact the woman above who’s children of 2 and 4 years are suffering with it? She mentions they love blackcurrant juice. I have read before and personally find Ribena or other blackcurrant squashes to really aggregate cystitis and slow healing. Perhaps due to the high vit C and sugar. When I gave it up years ago it massively helped me.
    I’m catching a long haul flight tomorrow and desperately hoping not to wake up in this agony in a plane, what will I do without my bath!

  • Jude

    It is very comforting to read all the above comments – in the middle of an attack of cystitis you tend to think you are the only woman alive feeling quite so wretched. I have suffered from this dreaded condition on and off for 30 years – the symptoms now are different than pre-menopause but no less debilitating and depressing. When I was abroad once and had an attack, I was given antibiotics in the form of one sachet of powder to be taken in water instantly – this seemed to cure things much more immediately than the pills spread over 3 or 5 days that you are given in the UK. I agree that sex, wine and dehydration all bring on an attack, regardless of the washing and peeing carried out after sex. I have never tried D-mannose and am excited to think that there’s something out there that just might work and give me a break. Otherwise, it’s the end of a sex life, I think – which means the end of a relationship as it’s simply not worth a brief bit of pleasure for days and days of pain and depression.

    • Hi Jude
      If you want to contact me my number is 0330 223 1380 and I will see if we can help.

  • Annie

    It is funny how we all seem to come across this late at night when in severe pain!

    I’m 27 and was diagnosed with IC five years ago. Prior to my diagnosis I had a compromised immune system and had previously had glandular fever at age 16, which is when it all seemed to go downhill for me. Following that I had my appendix and tonsils out as tonsillitis was a once a month occurrence for me. I repeatedly suffered from UTIs almost monthly from age 16, then at around 24/25 doctors started telling me there was no infection and it was in my head. That was probably the worst time in my life, I knew there was something wrong but they wouldn’t listen. Eventually I was referred to a specialist who instantly diagnosed it as IC and I had diagnostic surgery to prove it. I found knowing what it was helped more than anything, even if there was no cure. For me, emotional stress is what causes my worst flare ups, usually a day or two after I’ve been upset about something. I should also note I suffer from acid reflux and sensitive skin amongst a range of other so called associated conditions.

    I am currently suffering a flare up and have read a lot about a drug called emilron. I am going to arrange to see a specialist and see if I can get a prescription. Apparently it can take weeks to months to have an effect but I’ll be sure to report back and let you all know.

    IC is such a debilitating illness and reading all these comments about how hard work can be and crying in the bath describes how I have felt on so many occasions. I wish there was a full proof cure as I don’t think that anyone who hasn’t suffered can truly understand how much this illness affects your everyday life.

    I just wanted to share with you all because I know for me, in these times where nothing makes the pain go away, the only thing that makes it possible to go on, is knowing I’m not alone.

  • Liz

    It’s 4.30am and I’ve been reading this page for the past hour or so noting down all these brilliant tips (whilst sipping lots of water). I feel sorry for my house mates with all my constant loo trips through the night!
    I’m currently debating whether to go to the 24 hour tescos right now and hunt down a few remedies. Thank you for all the help!

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  • Olivia

    This blog post is amazing – I am recovering from cystitis right now and feel so miserable so it is so comforting to read everyone’s comments and know I am not alone! I’ve just been to the doctor but like someone else said by the time you manage to drag yourself to an appointment it’s mostly cleared up and they can’t help. What we all need is quick relief when we start to feel it coming on! I’m definitely going to try D-mannose powder and stop drinking sugary cranberry juice! Definitely I find the mornings are the worst for me pain-wise and I also find when cystitis comes on it wakes me up in the middle of the night. I always get extra stressed because I worry about hogging the bathroom in my shared house and how I’m going to manage at work being in pain. I feel more positive having read some of the suggestions that I’ve got a few new things to try so thanks everyone πŸ™‚

    • Don’t go to work! Call in sick IMMEDIATELY. I used to feel guilty about it but so many people call in sick when there’s nothing wrong with them that I really don’t care anymore! And you can control the symptoms so much better at home. I hope you get better soon xx

  • Megs

    I suffer from bladder infections all the time and I can honestly say this post has saved my life, Thankyou!!!

  • As soon as I lost my V plates I started getting cystitis on a regular basis. Then a few years ago I met my current boyfriend and HELLO honeymoon cystitis. I had it CONSTANTLY. The only real preventative I found was to ensure I always peed after sex (I’m lazy and always wanted to just fall straight to sleep) and the gaps between attacks got longer and longer. However it has come on this morning despite my boyfriend being away πŸ™ and I think the reason is because I’ve been trying to eat healthy and have been eating satsumas a lot. I have therefore decided to completely give up oranges / mandarins etc as the last time I got cystitis was caused by these as well. But how to get rid?! Well, a couple of years ago I discovered d-mannose tablets and they are the only thing that have ever helped cure the illness as well as prevent it. Unfortunately I’ve run out so have had to pay for 1-day delivery, so I’ll be uncomfortable until they arrive, but hopefully they’ll clear it up once they get here. My advice to anyone struggling with cystitis is to buy a bottle of d-mannose pills and ensure that you always have some in stock, and take a pill any time you have sex. I stopped doing that because the attacks had stopped but I’m really regretting that now and will be doing it again from now on! Also, milk helps to comfort it, and avoid sugar and alcohol at all costs. And don’t have sex until you’re better.

  • Danielle

    I’m so relieved that I’m not on my own. None of my friends suffer from this and I’ve been thinking why is it only me! All the suggestions and thoughts on here have given me some hope, especially d-mannose which I have already Googled. I’m going to stop the white wine too I think.
    My boyfriend has been wonderful which has helped so much. We both love sex and were enjoying a regular sex life until it all started happening more than ever before, about 5 months ago. He’s the most caring and thoughtful man and although we both miss the intimacy he never tries to push it. I think he really understands the pain. I guess I am lucky after all! Thanks for all the help girls πŸ™‚

    • Sara Avaloin

      Hi Danielle,

      I see you are going through the same thing as me and just today you commented! I feel so alone in this and like I might be going crazy. Maybe we could chat? My facebook name is Sara Avalon Shute if you would like to add me xx

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  • Lizzi

    Thanks for the advice. I’ve just used the bicarb effectively πŸ™‚
    You know, drinking alcohol causes cystitis! That’s why I’ve got it today. It’s because alcohol causes your body to be more acidic. If you take liquid chlorophyll twice a day it will help make your body more alkaline and may help keep the cystitis away. Cutting down on alcohol would also be good, of course.

  • Emma

    Love this post so good to know I’m not alone. My flare ups are worse at night, they even wake me up with the pain. I’ve only had about 3-4 hours sleep tonight and have to get up for work in 10 minutes. and can’t call in sick. I wish there was a way for employers to understand what we’re going through 😞 Order some D-Mannose online and praying it’s going to help πŸ™πŸ»

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  • Phoebe

    I’m already subscribed to your YouTube channel and this post is the first thing that comes up on google when you search for how to get rid of cystitus which makes me happy! Just wanted to leave a comment to say how much I love your writing and to thank you for the advice – unfortunately my flat is too small for the urine bath but I am going to devour some bicarbonate of soda straight away!

    • It’s my most popular post at the start of every day πŸ™ˆ so funny!

    • jwoolman

      Try a sitz bath, sets right on the toilet. Epsom salts in it are sometimes useful, but warm water will do.

  • Lucy

    I’ve been suffering with Water Infections for about 4 years now. It took about a year of weekly (crying in despair) visits to my GP to finally get me referred to a Gyny. I had a camera inserted into my pee hole and the surgeon said the my urethra was small and wasn’t flushing out the bacteria. Took many months to finally find a antibiotic that actually worked for me. It was a very frustrating time. I have a flare up every few weeks and this is usually after not weeing straight after sex or not drinking gallons of water everyday. As soon as i feel a twinge i take a antibiotic which i have on repeat with my GP and it usually clears up after one or 2 tablets.

    Its so nice to know that I’m not alone and other ladies suffer as I do.

    Great blog xx

  • Rebecca

    I used to have this problem, I have had a zillion courses of antibiotics. Luckily I ended up in the office of a urologist in Australia who told me about something called D-mannose and I’ve never had an antibiotic since. It’s literally changed my life. I buy it on Amazon, and sadly it costs a lot because there’s only one type that really works (sweet cures, waterfall d mannose) but the joy of it is it works faster and better than antibiotics.

    According to the urologist it’s in advanced clinical trials so may be on prescription soon. It only works for e-coli though, so if yours is caused by something else it won’t do a thing. I can’t remember what % are caused by e-coli but it was something like 90+%. Either way, it’s worked every time I’ve had a uti since. You can also take a small daily dose as a preventative which also works really well according to my doctor, but sadly it’s too expensive for me to do that.

  • Arilanna

    I recommend doing some more research into interstitial cystitis. If you do, you’ll see that interstitial cystitis and a bladder infection are not the same thing. A bacterial infection of the urinary tract can be treated with antibiotics whereas there is no cure for interstitial cystitis. There are only ways to ease the symptoms, pain, and discomfort associated with this ailment. Some doctors believe that the symptoms of IC are brought on by stress, but they’re really not sure why it happens. I read this article because I have I was diagnosed with IC about two years ago, and I thought perhaps you had some insight into it. However, this article is mostly about how to deal with bacterial infections (not the same as IC)….maybe you should rename it.

    • Annie

      Agree, IC is different to a UTI however my doctors have advised me that a particularly bad flare up of IC can lead to an infection. Having seen how inflamed (and disgusting!) my bladder lining looked when I had diagnostic surgery, it’s easy to see how it could turn into an infection.

      Stress and alcohol definitely causes my flare ups. I also have really bad acid reflux and haven’t been able to eat oranges for years now and tend to minimise how many tomato based dishes I eat.

      I’ve read that a study of IC has shown only 50% of people who have been diagnosed can work full time and those with it have a comparable quality of life to someone who is on renal dialysis. I’m feeling grateful that I can still work full time (though some days are very hard).

  • Heather

    I am currently in immense pain can’t sleep with the burning on my third lot of antibiotics for lots of nitrites and blood in my urine . Thanks for your tips.

  • Katy

    So your pj tip has made me burst into tears as I had Monday off, stupidly went into work Tuesday and now back on the loo at 1am in pain, chugging pints of water and crying that I might have to take Wednesday off…. Decision made, sofa and making myself well again! Thanks for the tips xxxx

  • Your magical helper

    The easiest way to get rid of Cystitis is to tell your parents and get a prescription of this powder to go in your drink and have it twice a day everyday until it goes away, oh and drink cranberry juice! (Don’t ask it works)

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  • Rachel

    This is incredibly helpful! Thank you so much and it’s so comforting to know that others go through the same thing, when all my friends just laugh when they have a ‘water infection’. No you don’t, if you had a full blown one, you’d be crying. Makes me mad!

  • perenboom

    Hi everyone. For the past year or so, I’ve been getting recurring cystitis. Every two or three months, I get a flare-up. I’ve gone to the Dr about four times in the past year. I’ve taken several courses of antibios, but each time the urine samples have come back negative for bacterial culture.

    So I’m beginning to wonder if I have have Interstitial Cystitis or some sort of irritable bladder condition. My mother used to have that, and she passed away just a couple of years ago in a traumatic way and I moved countries. I was under a HUGE amount of stress for a long time, and a bunch of health problems cropped up for me because of it, this being one. I also have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disorder. I’ve heard that cystitis can be caused sometimes by autoimmune problems.

    Well currently I’m in a flare up. It seems to be worse in the morning and die off in the afternoon. I keep thinking I need to go get tested, but I JUST got a new Dr and even she is out of the office on leave at the moment…I am hesitant to go to just anyone and get slapped on antibios when there is nothing there. My previous Doctor also had no idea and I’ve yet to be recommended to a urologist. I am just trying to self-medicate. Just drinking Ural (which is basically bicarb soda with flavouring) lots of fluids.

    I have found a big reliever for me is baths but also taking a warm shower and holding open my labia so the warm water runs over the uretrha. It feels sooo good. I have an adjustable showerhead so I can get it closer to the area. I proabbly wouldn’t blast it straight on but just a gentle trickle feels so nice and gives me relief sometimes for hours afterward. I suppose a bottle with warm water in would work in a similar way. Hot baths are good too but sometimes I don’t feel like sitting in a hot bath.

    I have been putting pawpaw ointment down there (similar to vaseline I suppose) which seems soothing, although I think I should get something else ultimately as I don’t know if this is the best (just all I have right now).

    Gonna maybe try to get into to see SOME Doctor this week sometime around my work to get checked and rule out bacteria again….

  • Sherba

    You seem to use cystitis and bladder infections interchangeably but they are 2 completely different things. Your symptoms seem to be more interstitial cystitis now known as painful bladder syndrome. Taking antibiotics will only make things worse, as will cranberry juice (acidic). You have to repair the lining of the bladder with medication, avoid flare-up foods which are mostly acidic food, get your and get your pelvic floor treated.

  • Emily

    I felt like this post was writen by myself lol so relatable! However after years of suffering and going to and from doctors I was diagnosed with an overactive bladder, causing regular cystitis. They put me on tolterodine and for over a year now not a single agonising day of cystitis, until I ran out of tablets this week, and while waiting for my prescription to come through… Boom cystitis, worse than I’ve ever had it. Seriously worth seeing a specialist at the hospital and asking them for these tablets they’re a god send.

  • Sue

    After 15 years of constant cystitis and I think every treatment possible, I am still googling for help every time it happens!
    Thank you for the post, its nice to know I’m not alone x

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  • Claire

    I’m french, (sorry for my english),
    Since i meet my new partner 1 years ago, i suffer for several cystitis (6-8 per month).
    I did everything to stop them, cranberry juice, every kind of antibiotics we can find in France, hospital therapy, a lot of hot baths, etc etc…
    It worked just for few days and then, the pain came back.. again and again..
    There is a lot of cure but the only one that’s work on me is the RED WINE. Only red wine, not white or rosΓ©. A lot of people said that drinking alcohol could give you cystitis: it’s true.
    But drinking red wine is different. It’s a natural desinfectant that immediatly work on me. When i’m in a lot of pain i drink on medium glass of red wine, i wait one hour/ on hour and half and the pain disappear (like if it clean from all bacteria) And then i drink cranberry juice.
    (A glass of red wine maximum per day is good for health and prevent from cardiac/heart troubles too !)

  • alicia

    This post is probably too old for you to still be reading the comments, but just in case you ever look back this post helped so much last night! I went from feeling sorry for myself on the loo at 2am to having a good laugh at this blog… The comments section is a bit like a cystitis support group too, ha! Thanks so much Hannah xo

  • sae

    i really recomend cantheris homeopathic feel way betterby the next day

  • Laura Ashley

    Han,
    I’m an avid reader of your blog and i love it.. pretty sure I read this before without reading all the comments. I actually thought there was something seriously wrong with me before reading this post and all the comments. I googled so many different times looking for an answer then this came up n as one of the very few blogs i subscribe to, I was so suprised to see this pop up. This has been the answer to my prayers though. Sex is definitely a trigger for me and after a recent antibiotic course I am back here again with burning while peeing and a really uncomfortable feeling/pain in my stomach and back pain. I worried there was something majorly wrong with me. And after getting my doc to recently check for kidney infection I was told i didnt have one . I’ve not known what to do. I feel so happy to have stumbled across so many women with similar stories and it is as if I had written a lot of the stuff myself. It’s really hard being a woman sometimes and it’s nice to no we’re not alone in the struggle. I at nearly 3am have been taking notes of what to use. I myself am using unfiltered apple cider vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. I’m also going to get some good quality probiotics such as udos choice. My college lecturer who is a nutritionist recommended taking prebiotics before taking a course of antibiotics.. Does anybody know how to solve the problem of lacking in vitamin c if you should steer clear of vitamin c as i am low in it but also don’t want it to aggravate the cystitis problem. Thanks for your helpful and honest post Han, I love the way you’re honest, its makes what you talk about totally relatable. And everyone for your honest and helpful comments.
    Laura in Ireland

  • I know I’m about 2 years late with this comment, but your post is still so relevant … and sadly it will be relevant as all gals suffer with this. Thanx for the tips. Drinking Cranberry Juice (for me) is great way of ‘flushing’ clean your bladder. x

  • Ellen Ryerson

    When I was a young girl, my mother called it Gravel, most doctors today say, “What’s that?” But I am fortunate to have found an old school nurse practitioner, and she knows what I’m talking about, so she usually leaves me a standing prescription for Trimethaprim and Phenazopyrid. The Phenazopyrid is especially helpful for the spams. If you’ve never tried it, do ask your doctor, It’s the only real help to relieve the discomfort that I’ve had over the years. I take that and Naproxen. I will definitely try the D-mannose, in fact , I have already ordered some after reading this. But there is something nobody here said anything about, on my last flare up, I talked to a preacher friend of mine who could tell I was suffering because of something, and when he asked me, knowing him all my life, I just told him, and he immediately said two tablespoons of raw vinegar and two tablespoons of raw honey in a glass of water everyday before breakfast. I came home and tried it and it worked immediately , by the second day the cramping and discomfort were gone. When I finished the bottle of vinegar I forgot to buy more , then my husband had open heart surgery and a stroke, So I was in the hospital with him for two weeks, and after I got him home, my son got hit by an SVU on his Harley so it was back to the hospital for me for another three weeks, and needless to say , with the stress and soda drinking, I got an IC flare up. Terrible cramping and my whole body stiffens up at night . I lose my appetite and the gravel is incredibly miserable. I forgot about the vinegar and honey and My doctor was gone so I went to see another Dr, and of course no infection showed up, so she wouldn’t give me the meds. Today I went and bought the vinegar and honey. But the first specialist I saw several years ago told me that with IC will never show up as infection because it is inflammation of the bladder walls. He shot idodine in my bladder and that worked for several years. I hadn’t had that bad of a flare since, because knowing the symptoms I always rushed to take care of it, but this one I never had time to take care of and its been a bad one. It’s truly dehibilitating and makes a person want to stay hidden….and I can’t do that because too many people here depend on me. So like y’all I’m on here looking for home remedies. I ordered the D-mannose, and fixing to go drink my raw vinegar and raw honey now. I hope y’all find something that works for you. One last thing, I read one person here said something about red wine, the preacher also told me that red wine works the best. Only red wine, he said….but I’ve never tried it. Wishing you all the best .

    • Sue

      You are the first person i have heard use the word gravel except my kidney specialist who is now retired.
      I have polycystic kidneys and am very prone to cystitis. He says the symptoms are caused by tiny, tiny kidney stones ‘gravel’ being passed through the urine making it acidic.
      It helps me understand whats wrong with me when the tests find no bacteria, ive followed all the diet rules and still have symptoms.

  • Helen M

    Hi Hannah, I came across your blog one day six months ago after suffering from yet another bout of debilitating cystitis, for the third time in three weeks. It was taking me a full day to get rid of it (needless to say I never left the house on those days) and your blog was such a comfort to read, knowing I wasn’t the only one experiencing this horrible infection.

    I did a lot of reading up on what could be the cause – I’ve been getting cystitis since I was a toddler but it started to become more and more frequent this last year (I’m in my early thirties now) and it got particularly bad after I moved to a very hot country (dehydration has always been a trigger for me). I assumed it must be that and started drinking more water, but that didn’t help.

    I noticed that I used to get twinges after drinking my morning coffee and read on a few websites that caffeine can be a trigger so in a desperate attempt to stop these infections I switched to decaf tea and coffee. I got used to the taste pretty quickly and I have not suffered one bout of cystitis in 6 months – not even a twinge! I don’t drink any more water than usual – about a litre a day, and I don’t drink fizzy drinks like coke, very often as it’s always been a trigger for me too.

    I’m sure this won’t work for everyone, but I just wanted to share this, as it could be something as simple as switching to decaff that could prevent this from ocurring. I’m 100% convinced that’s why I haven’t had it for so long now – and I really hope I’m not jinxing it – but if it can help one other person get rid of their cystitis, without having to take any meds too, then it’s worth it.

    All the best, and thank you again for sharing – this blog was a ray of sunshine on the days where I spent all day running back and forth to the toilet in agony.

    Thank you.

  • Charl

    Uh I don’t wanna be in this gang, yet I am. Shitty isn’t it?!
    My triggers are caffeine, alcohol and sex. With a stressful job and a boyfriend 10 years my junior, those triggers are my life!
    Anyhow, what I’d like to share or ask anyone is if they get chronic social anxiety alongside their cystitis?
    It is a bizarre sensation. At the time I could sit in a dark cell on the moon and still be too close to people…
    My cystitis (with extra helping of anxiety) occurs about every 6 weeks or so, it is miserable, I feel everyone’s pain on here.
    Thank you for the post and all the comments, it has given me some mild comfort.

  • Eve

    Reading this and all of these comments made me so much happier. Its 1 AM and I am suffering from a random bout of cystitis and kidney pain πŸ™ it feels like my life is a saga of being okay for couple of weeks and then having cystitis and being depressed for 2 weeks. I’m only 16 and find it so hard to stop myself from things like alcohol because everyone else my age is drinking and I feel so boring if i don’t. I also feel so depressed when I think about sex as it’s a big part in all of my friends lives but when I think about it I just think of the cystitis I get afterwards:(. I haven’t found anything that helps my cystitis when it’s really painful except from potassium citrate mixture diluted with water and drinking loads. I’m definetely going to try D mannose though. Also I get nasty kidney infections because of cystitis not going away completely after antibiotics and since I’ve been on so many different antibiotics my whole life since i was 5 the bacteria is always resistant to them. I just want to be like all of my friends are normal and can go to school everyday, I am doing my highers and falling behind in everything because of my uti’s. But it felt good to read these comments and know I’m not the only one. Hope everyone gets better soon πŸ™‚ at least we are together in this xx

    • Lucy

      Hello Eve! I used to suffer like you at your age both physically and emtionally. A lot of my friends used to talk about their sex lives and drinking. I’m not sure if it was them or me that put the pressure on me, but irrespective the pressure existed! At the risk of sounding like a parent, i can honestly say that you will look back and wonder why you didnt just tell people to get lost! How you treat your body now is so important in relation to your overall health. You’re only young and a teenager for a few years but you’ll spend most of your life as an adult! Thats a long time to live with the cinsequences of decisions made in haste as a teenager! Please dont feel as though you need to drink or have sex to fit in, truth is your body probably isnt ready for it and you could cause all kinds of damage that could stay with you for years! This is a horrible condition and it must feel so much worse at 16 – stick with it eve and most importantly look after yourself!try all of the recommendations and you will something that works for you! By the time you’re 18 and possibly left school, nobody will remember who was who in school and in my experience the things they did then didnt get them ahead it later years!

  • I love this post! #ditchthelace


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