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eMed previously Babylon Health


Cystitis is the medical terminology for bladder inflammation and is often caused by bacterial Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). Both men and women can experience cystitis, but it’s far more common with women. Cystitis is often fairly mild, and will often go away on its own – however, some people are prone to recurrent cystitis, which isn’t always due to an infection, or they may be at risk of an infection traveling up to their kidneys from their bladder; so if symptoms persist please speak with an experienced GP today for a consultation.

Causes of cystitis

Cystitis is caused when bacteria makes its way into the bladder through the urethra. There are a variety of reasons as to why this occurs – it can happen as a result of having sex, inserting a tampon or using a diaphragm for contraception. Wiping your bottom after going to the toilet (especially if wiping back to front) can also introduce bacteria into the urethra.

Women are more likely to experience cystitis than men for two reasons. Firstly, their urethras are shorter, which means bacteria doesn’t have as far to travel before it reaches the bladder. Secondly, women’s anuses are closer to the entrance of their urethra, which can also make it easier for bacteria to be introduced.

Symptoms of cystitis

There are a number of symptoms to watch out for if you think you may have cystitis, including:

  • Burning or stinging when you urinate
  • Needing to pee suddenly, or more regularly than normal
  • Urine that is cloudy, dark or particularly strong smelling
  • Pain in the lower abdomen

As cystitis is a form of infection, you may also feel generally unwell. Fatigue, aches and pains, and a sense of being ‘under the weather’ are common signs of this condition.

Treatment for cystitis

Most cases of cystitis are managed at home with over-the-counter painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen. It’s recommended that you drink plenty of water and avoid having sex until the infection has subsided.

If you are experiencing a severe case of cystitis and end up seeing a GP, they will likely prescribe you a short course of antibiotics which will help rid your body of the infection more effectively. Book a video consultation with our doctor to discuss treatment and get you on the road to recovery.

The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.