You wouldn’t wish an attack of cystitis on your worst enemy, would you? Anyone who’s suffered from a particularly nasty urine infection will agree that the telltale burning, stingy pee is akin to passing razor blades.
But if the first thing you do when you feel cystitis symptoms looming is reach for a carton of cranberry juice, it’s likely you’re wasting your time.
New draft health guidelines have stated that doctors shouldn’t bother recommending cranberry juice as there’s not enough good evidence to suggest glugging the red berry juice can prevent or treat a urinary tract infection.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has instead advised that people should drink plenty of water or fluids and take painkillers. It also recommends that GPs limit the use, or prescribe only a short course of antibiotics in a bid to reduce resistance to the drugs. Many UTIs will require antibiotics, but our immune system is able to fight off milder attacks.
Cystitis is the medical name given to an inflammation of the bladder – caused by a urine infection. It’s a common condition, affecting up to 40% of women and the key symptoms include: pain, burning or stinging when you wee; needing to wee more often; dark, cloudy and smelly urine, a heavy or painful tummy; feeling achy, sick and tired.
Wiping from front to back and urinating after sex can help to prevent cystitis, which occurs when bacteria enters the urinary tract through the urethra.
To alleviate the killer-wee symptoms, take paracetamol and keep hydrated. You should see your GP straight away however if you develop back pain, a high temperature or sickness, or are pregnant, in case a UTI develops into a more serious kidney infection.