Bacterial Cystitis / Recurrent Cystitis

Bacterial cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder caused by bacteria entering the bladder. Most commonly the infection starts when bacteria enter via the urethra.

How common is Bacterial Cystitis?
Bacterial Cystitis occurs more commonly in women as compared to men and children. Between one or two out of every five women in the UK will get cystitis at some point in their life.

What are the risk factors or Bacterial Cystitis?
• Poor Hygiene: Due to females having a shorter urethra and its situation close to the back passage (anus).
• Poor Bladder Emptying: Usually caused by Ill-fitting diaphragms used for contraception, pregnancy causing pressure from the uterus, prolapse . Stagnant urine encourages bacteria to grow.
• Catheters: trauma (damage) may occur to the urethra or bladder, which may increase the danger of infection.
• Abnormalities in the urinary system
• Menopause leading to abnormal vaginal flora
• Sexual intercourse
• Sexually transmitted diseases
• Women’s Underwear
• Diabetes

What are the symptoms of Bacterial Cystitis?
• Burning or stinging pain when urinating (dysuria)
• Frequent need to pass small amounts of urine
• Feeling of urgency to pass urine even when the bladder is empty
• Cloudy/dark urine, which may have a strong smell

How is Bacterial Cystitis Diagnosed?
With mild symptoms no investigations are required before starting the treatment.
•• A specimen of mid-stream urine (MSU) should be collected in a sterile container provided by your GP. The GP will perform a simple urine test and may also send the sample to the hospital for a full culture test.
• If repeated urinary tract infections occur, you may be referred to the see a consultant urogynaecologist or urologist for further investigations.

For complete information regarding Bacterial/Recurrent Cystitis download the PDF


How is bacterial cystitis treated?
• Increase your intake of fluid
• Drink bland fluids such as water or fruit squash • Avoid alcohol, caffeinated, carbonated and acidic drinks, such as orange juice
• Use Bicarbonate of soda, 5 ml (one teaspoon) in half a glass of water, 2 - 3 times a day. However, due to its high salt content it should only be taken for short periods of time. It should not be used in patients with high blood pressure or heart problems.
• Other urine alkalinisers such as sodium or potassium citrate are available from your pharmacy. Please check with your GP or pharmacist to ensure that these can be taken in addition to any other medication
• Take a simple painkiller such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Hot water bottle helps to relive discomfort.

If symptoms continue for longer than 2 - 3 days, always consult your GP. If you are pregnant consult your GP straight away. Your GP will prescribe appropriate antibiotics for the infection.

Treatment for recurrent cystitis:
Women who get cystitis recurrently may be prescribed a course of antibiotics to keep at home which they can take at the onset of an attack. Sometimes a low dose of antibiotics is prescribed for three to six months to reduce the risk of infection. If you get cystitis after sexual intercourse you may be advised to take a single dose of antibiotics immediately afterwards to prevent an attack. It is important to have a urine sample sent off to the laboratory to confirm whether an infection is present and to discover which antibiotic is required.

Recurring infections should be investigated and a referral to a consultant may be recommended. Recurrent infections can be treated with Intravesical treatments placed directly into the bladder via a small catheter. These include Cystitstat®, Uracyst®, iAluRil®, and Gepan® instillation.