Cystitis is an inflammatory condition of the bladder that is usually caused by infection. Treatment is aimed at easing symptoms and correcting the infection, which has a high risk of returning without adequate treatment. The condition should be treated as soon as possible as the infection can spread to the kidneys and lead to severe complications.
An outline of the steps taken in the treatment of cystitis is given below:
Measures to take at home
Cystitis usually resolves within a few days. Patients are advised to drink plenty of clear fluids such as water and fruit juices and to take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. These pain relievers not only ease symptoms of pain and fever, but they also reduce inflammation and its symptoms.
Treating sexual partners and abstaining from sex
Sometimes both partners may need to be treated. A person with cystitis may have to abstain from sexual intercourse until the infection is cleared because intercourse can worsen the condition.
In most cases, diagnosis of cystitis involves culture of the urine in the laboratory and assessment of the bacteria causing the infection. The sensitivity and possible resistance of these bacteria to specific antibiotics is also tested. Only appropriate antibiotics that the bacteria are sensitive to may be used to treat the infection. It is vital that a course of antibiotics is completed.
Some examples of the antibiotics used include nitrofurantoin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (cotrimoxazole), amoxicillin, cephalosporins, doxycycline, fluroquinolones or ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin. Recurrent infections need to be treated thoroughly to reduce the chance of pyelonephritis or kidney infection.
The burning sensation associated with cystitis may be eased with pyridium
Cranberry juice has been shown to inhibit the activity of E. coli by not allowing it to attach to the walls of the urinary bladder.
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc