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Cystitis is inflammation of the bladder, usually caused by a bladder infection. It’s a common type of urinary tract infection (UTI), particularly in women, and is usually more of a nuisance than a cause for serious concern. Mild cases will often get better by themselves within a few days.
However, some people experience episodes of cystitis frequently and may need regular or long-term treatment. The main symptoms of cystitis include:
Possible symptoms in young children include a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above, weakness, irritability, reduced appetite and vomiting.
If you get cystitis frequently, there are some things you can try that may stop it coming back. However, it’s not clear how effective most of these measures are.
These measures include:
Drinking cranberry juice has traditionally been recommended as a way of reducing your chances of getting cystitis. However, large studies have suggested it doesn’t make a significant difference.
If you’ve had cystitis before and don’t feel you need to see your GP, you may want to treat your symptoms at home. Until you’re feeling better, it may help to:
Some people find it helpful to try over-the-counter products that reduce the acidity of their urine (such as sodium bicarbonate or potassium citrate), but there’s a lack of evidence to suggest they’re effective.
Women don’t necessarily need to see their GP if they have cystitis, as mild cases often get better without treatment. You can try the self-help measures listed above or ask your pharmacist for advice.
See your GP if:
Your GP should be able to diagnose cystitis by asking about your symptoms. They may test a sample of your urine for bacteria to help confirm the diagnosis.