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How long does cystitis last?

18th May 2020

Cystitis is a common urinary tract infection (UTI) that affects significantly more women than men. It can be unpleasant and painful so most people want to know how long the infection will last, and more importantly, how to treat it effectively.

How long does cystitis last?

The length of the infection depends on whether or not you treat it with antibiotics. Antibiotics normally get to work in a day or 2 so they can help to resolve the infection nice and quickly. Without antibiotics, the infection can go away on its own (thanks to your immune system) but this can take up to a week. Because of the prolonged symptoms without them, most people prefer to treat cystitis with antibiotics.

Symptoms of cystitis include stinging or burning when you pee, needing to go more urgently or more often than normal, and urine that’s dark, cloudy or strong-smelling. It can also cause pain in your abdomen, or make you feel lethargic and unwell.

Men and women generally experience the same symptoms of cystitis, but women are more likely to contract the infection because their urethra is shorter and closer to the anus, which makes it easier for bacteria to spread.

How to treat cystitis

Antibiotics such as Trimethoprim or Nitrofurantoin are the most effective at treating cystitis, and they clear the infection in a matter of days. Like all antibiotics, these are only available on prescription, but you don’t need an existing one to order from UK Meds. Simply fill out an online consultation, a qualified prescriber will assess it and then your medication will be delivered to your door.

There are also a number of measures that you can do yourself to help to treat cystitis. Try taking over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen (to treat any stomach pains or painful urination) and make sure you drink plenty of water.

There’s a well known idea that cranberry juice can help with UTI’s and it’s not a complete myth; cranberry juice can help to reduce the acidity in your urine to make it less painful. However, there’s limited evidence of this. The actual way in which cranberry juice can be effective is in preventing future infections.

How to prevent cystitis

If you’ve had a UTI before then you’ll probably be looking to avoid getting the infection again. There are a number of things that increase your risk of getting cystitis, and a number of preventative measures you can take.

Sex can be a trigger for UTI’s so it’s a good idea to always pee after sex to flush out any potentially harmful bacteria that may have entered your urethra.

Another way that you can contract cystitis is by using heavily perfumed soaps or bubble bath, so try to only use gentle products on your genitals and opt for showers over baths. It can also help to wear underwear made of something like cotton, rather than a synthetic fabric.

Avoid holding on to your pee for a long time, and always try to fully empty your bladder when you do go. Also, make sure you wipe front to back to minimise the risk of bacteria spreading.

A woman’s choice of contraception can also be a factor, as a diaphragm can increase your risk of cystitis. If you’re currently using a diaphragm and are suffering from UTIs then you may want to consider an alternative method such as the contraceptive pill, the contraceptive patch or condoms.