Ever needed the toilet so badly that the shame of (soberly) wetting yourself in public outweighs the need to pee? Oh heeeey, over here!
Earlier this month, as if from nowhere, a wave of wee desperation hit me so hard and painfully that I raced to the toilet, trickled, winced and then spent the next two hours propped up on the loo at work wrestling with the onslaught of cystitis.
I downed pint after pint of water mixed with cranberry sachets then managed to get a taxi home (because hell no I could not bring myself to get on the tube) and spent another three hours on the toilet in my flat. Fun times.
If this sounds like something you've experienced too - you, my lady, are part of the killer-wee-club. Here's the downlow on our favourite (LOLZ) infection to get...
What Is Cystitis?
Turns out there are two types. Who knew, right? Cystitis is an infection of the bladder. Bacteria living harmlessly on the skin or in the bowel gets there through the urethra (your wee tube) and multiplies causing DRAMA. Interstitial cystitis, also known as 'painful bladder syndrome', is a bladder condition that causes long-term pelvic pain and problems with passing urine.
Why Do We Get It?
Common causes of plain old cystitis are having sex, wiping your bottom (especially if you wipe back to front, stop that now!), popping in a tampon or using a diaphragm for contraception. You are also prone if you don't fully empty your bladder, are going through or have been through the menopause or are diabetic. The exact cause for interstitial cystitis however isn't clear. Joy. There is no obvious infection but some people may have an inflamed, ulcerated or scarred bladder.
What Are The Symptoms?
Regular cystitis symptoms are: pain, burning or stinging when you pee; needing to pee more often; dark, cloudy and smelly wee; pain down in your tummy; feeling achy, sick and tired.
Interstitial cystitis symptoms are: intense pelvic pain; sudden, strong urges to pee; needing to pee more often than normal; waking up several times during the night to wee.
Is It Painful?
It's been described on a legit health website as "passing white hot molten metal", so in conclusion: YES.
How Do I Get Rid Of It?
For cystitis, take paracetamol or ibuprofen, drink loads of water, snuggle up with a hot water bottle and don't have sex. Over-the-counter sachets also help or you may need antibiotics. See your GP if symptoms don't improve within a couple of days, you have blood in your urine or are pregnant. For interstitial cystitis, there is no current cure but take painkillers, try reducing stress, avoiding alcohol, stopping smoking and taking regular toilet breaks.
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