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In healthy people, urine in the bladder is sterile, containing no bacteria or infectious organisms. The tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body is the urethra. It normally contains very few bacteria. If bacteria build up occurs, it is called cystitis.

  • Cystitis is surprisingly common in women.
  • It is an inflammation of the bladder lining.
  • It occurs when bacteria work their way along from the genital area, along the urethra and into the bladder.
  • The problem mostly affects women, as the female urethra is much shorter than in the male.
  • Risk factors include pregnancy, sexual intercourse, being elderly, inadequate water intake and poor toilet hygiene.

Symptoms of Cystitis

  • Burning pain on urination
  • Frequent need to urinate, whether the bladder is full or not
  • Incontinence
  • Lower abdominal pain

How to manage Cystitis

Cystitis often occurs in the hours or days after sexual intercourse. Urinating immediately after having sex will help wash away bacteria before it can enter the bladder. Women should always wipe toilet tissue from the front to the back, to avoid contaminants from faeces entering the urethra.

Increasing the flow of urine by drinking plenty of fluids flushes bacteria out of the bladder. The body’s natural defense helps to eliminate the rest of the bacteria


This is the best-known herbal remedy for cystitis. It’s a herb that works by increasing the acidity of urine to inhibit the ability of bacteria to adhere to the bladder or urethra, so it’s more easily washed out. As an added benefit, cranberry has a deodorizing property that masks the odor of urine, should any leakage occur.

Published November 20, 2012
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