Cystitis UTI Treatment
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—Helen, 19th February 2023
Cystitis Treatments That We Can Provide
Urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria getting into your urethra (the tube that connects the bladder to the external opening), and travelling to your bladder or kidneys.
Cystitis can occur when an infection causes inflammation of the bladder. Women tend to get cystitis more often than men because the urethra is much shorter in females than in males, and it sits closer to the back passage. This means that bacteria can get into the bladder more easily via faeces (poo) which contains high numbers of E.Coli bacteria, and is the most common cause of female cystitis.
This usually responds well to treatment with the nitrofuran antibiotics.
Please be advised, as a written consultation service, our clinical criteria for issuing antibiotic prescriptions for potential urine infections is more strict than the clinical judgement that may be used during a face-to-face consultation.
We issue prescriptions for generic name medicines to ensure maximum availability of treatments. Please check your dispensed prescription before leaving the Pharmacy as no changes can be made after that point.
- Nitrofuran antibiotics
How It Works
Important Medical Information
Who is this service for?
This service is suitable if you are :
- Female (birth sex) between the ages of 17 and 65 years
- Experiencing specific clinical urinary symptoms >48hours
- Requesting a prescription for nitrofuran type antibiotics
Who is this service not suitable for?
This service is NOT suitable for you if you are:
- A child under the age of 17
- A female over the age of 65
- Pregnant (or suspect you could be pregnant) or breastfeeding
- Having symptoms of fever, shaking chills, vomiting or flank pain (pain in the sides)
- Seeing blood in your urine
- Experiencing vaginal bleeding or abnormal vaginal discharge
- Using a urinary catheter (including self catheterisation and permanent catheters)
- Aware your kidney filtration rate (eGFR/ estimated glomerular filtration rate) is less than 45 mL/min
- Seeking a prescription for antibiotics not listed in our medical application form. These cannot be issued via this service.
- Requiring a medical certificate due to the urine infection (Please note, we cannot issue retrospective medical certificates).
- Suffering from recurrent Urinary Tract Infections (more than 2 in 6 months or 3 in one year)
Please note: the management of male patients with Cystitis is VERY different and we are not able to provide this via this service.
What causes Urinary Tract Infections?
Urinary Tract Infections are caused by bacteria getting into your urethra (tube that connects the bladder to the external opening) or bladder. The bacteria usually comes from your gut/ bowels and can cause infections in different parts of the urinary tract.
- Kidney (Pyelonephritis)
This is caused by infection and requires prompt medical assessment. You can feel quite unwell with this condition (temperature, flank/ side pain, vomiting, blood in the urine).
- Bladder (Cystitis)
This can be caused by infection (requires antibiotics) or inflammation. It is a common type of urinary tract infection (UTI) in women.
- Urethra (Urethritis)
This is often caused by inflammation rather than infection and can mimic the symptoms of Cystitis.
What is Cystitis?
Cystitis is inflammation of the bladder and is most often caused by infection.
This service is for the treatment of Cystitis. It is not suitable for other urine tract infections such as Pyelonephritis or Urethritis.
What are the main symptoms of female Cystitis?
The main symptoms of Cystitis include:
- Pain, burning or stinging when you pass urine
- Needing to pass urine at night
- Passing urine more often than usual
- Needing to pass urine immediately (urgently)
- Dark, cloudy or strong-smelling urine
- Pain low down in your tummy (not in your sides)
- Blood stained urine *
- Feeling feverish along with other urinary symptoms*
*If you are feeling unwell, have a temperature or have blood in your urine, this service is NOT suitable for you. You should arrange an assessment with your local GP.
What can increase your risk of developing female Cystitis?
Women tend to get Cystitis more often than men because the female urethra (tube that brings urine from the bladder out of the body) is much shorter than in males and sits closer to the back passage compared to males.
This means that bacteria can get into the bladder via faeces (poo) more easily. E.Coli bacteria, from the bowel, is the most common cause of female Cystitis.
Some things can increase your risk of developing Cystitis:
- Having sex
- Wiping from back to front (instead of front to back) after going to the toilet
- Being older than 65 years (10% of women over this age report having a UTI in the last 12 months)
- Using a diaphragm / spermicide & condoms for contraception
- A weak immune system
Are antibiotics always necessary to treat female Cystitis?
Mild cases of female Cystitis often get better without any treatment (can take up to 5 days) and antibiotics are not always necessary.
It may help to do the following:
- Take paracetamol or ibuprofen if you are having pain in your tummy
- Cystopurin sachets (available over the counter in your pharmacy)
- Drink plenty of water, minimum of 2.5 litres
- Hold a hot water bottle on your tummy or between your thighs
- Avoid having sex until your infection has cleared entirely
- Wipe from front to back when you go to the toilet
- Gently wash around your genitals with a skin-sensitive soap or soap substitute
- Avoid alcoholic drinks and coffee (they are known bladder irritants)
Many women find cranberry products helpful to control symptoms. There is no medical evidence to support their use, but they may be worth a try! (Avoid these if you are taking warfarin)
If your symptoms are unpleasant and persisting for more than 48 hours despite these measures, antibiotic treatment can be considered.
What prescription medication can we provide?
What are the potential side effects of this antibiotic?
Most patients do not experience side effects with this, but occasionally they do occur and most commonly include:
- Nausea/ vomiting
- Decreased appetite
It can make your urine a dark yellow/ brown colour. This is nothing to worry about and will settle when you stop this medication.
There are other potential side effects that occur less often. For a full list of these please read the information leaflet that comes with your medication.
If you are concerned about any potential side effects related to this medication, stop taking it and speak with a doctor.
When should you arrange an ‘in person’ appointment with a doctor?
- If you suffer from repeated episodes of Cystitis/ urine infections you should arrange an appointment with your local GP for assessment. This would include checking a urine sample for specific bacteria and may include a sexual health screen (Some sexually transmitted infections can have symptoms mimicking urine infections).
- If you are not responding to the treatment prescribed within 48 hours.
- If you become very unwell at any time e.g. high temperature, nausea/ vomiting, drowsy, back pain between your lower ribs and hips.
- If you are aware your kidney filtration rate (eGFR/ estimated glomerular filtration rate) is less than 45 mL/min, this treatment will not work for you.
This is part of a condition known as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). If you are not sure what this is, or if it applies to you please send us a message to email@example.com
Can taking antibiotics lead to antibiotic resistance?
Please be aware that antibiotics should only be used if necessary.
When antibiotic tablets are taken, they affect our gut bacteria.
The gut bacteria can then become resistant to the antibiotics we have taken. (This means that the antibiotics are not effective against these bacteria).
Our gut bacteria is often the cause of female urine infections.
This is one of the reasons it is important that we have a good clinical indication for prescribing antibiotics for urine infections.
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