A burning or stinging sensation when you urinate can be a symptom of cystitis, but there are other symptoms you should look for too, like a frequent need to urinate or feeling that you can’t fully empty your bladder. However, if you have dark, cloudy or strong-smelling urine, or if there is blood in your urine, it could be a sign of a more severe infection. Visit your doctor if you’re unsure about whether you have cystitis or not. Click here to learn about other cystitis symptoms.
The terms UTI and cystitis are often used interchangeably, however they’re not the same thing – UTIs are a type of cystitis but you can get cystitis that is not specifically a UTI. This is because cystitis is any inflammation of the bladder including both bacterial cystitis and non-infectious cystitis. Non-infectious or non-bacterial cystitis can be caused by damage or irritation to your bladder which can be due to vigorous sexual intercourse, chemicals or perfumed soaps, hormonal changes, dehydration, diabetes or using a catheter. As the name suggests, UTIs are bacterial infections and only fall under the category of bacterial cystitis.
If this is the first time you have had cystitis, you should visit a doctor to seek the appropriate treatment for your infection. A short course of antibiotics is the usual treatment but the cystitis may improve without the need for antibiotics. Products containing sodium citrate, reduce the acidity of your urine, making urination more comfortable so your body can deal with the irritation or infection.
One of the best things you can do to prevent cystitis is to drink plenty of water. If you’re prone to cystitis it’s also a good idea to avoid caffeinated, alcoholic and fizzy drinks. Click here for more tips on prevention.
It’s best to avoid having sex until your cystitis clears up. However, if you are having sex then make sure you empty your bladder fully after sex and consider changing contraceptives if you use a diaphragm as they can lead to higher instances of urinary tract infections.