Sunday, 13 April 2014

Cystitis. One woman's pain?

So I am sure a few of you who follow me on Instagram/Twitter etc will be aware that I suffer with Cystitis. I have done for as long as I can remember (crazy right?! an 8yr old sat on the toilet all night in pain!) and as some women have NO IDEA what it is and some know exactly what I was going through-I thought i'd do a post on a HUGE run through about it, the symptoms, causes, remedies etc. So those of you who suffer may pick up something useful and those of you who have no idea what it is might gain a lil' sympathy for your friends/family members who do suffer from it.

Friendly Warning: Please note that in this post I will be talking about female bodily parts etc and if you are not comfortable with reading things about this topic then please just X now as I don't want anybody to feel uncomfortable.

Here we go then! What the hell is it?
This is the actual definition: inflammation of the urinary bladder. It is often caused by infection and is usually accompanied by frequent painful urination.

And here's my definition: Stingy/Burning sensations during urination or just after and lingering painful feelings in vagina sometimes with lower abdomen pressure.

(please note that if you haven't suffered with it before, you're really not going to understand the sensation, it's a really strange horrible feeling. I tend to not like to be around other people when I have it as they can't tell I am ill as they can't see any physical changes in me-like a cold, y'know?)

Caused by:
Stress (is actually the main cause for the next bit-), infection/contamination from bacteria from anus (ya bum hole) to urethra (wee tube) going up to and infecting the bladder. My Doctor told me that it's made worse in younger females and those going through the menopause as Oestrogen levels are lower and therefore the bladder lining not as good at defending itself. (whether this is true or not, I am not sure as she wasn't very good at curing me-but we will not go into details and to me this is a plausible explanation). It's also easily caused cos'-Think about it, ya bum and ya frou frou are actually pretty damn close together >.< .
Sexually Transmitted Infections/Diseases will cause it also.

Preventative Methods:
  • Cranberry Juice-drinking unsweetened/no added sugar cranberry juice helps strengthen the bladder lining and therefore can help prevent future infections. Note the no sugar bit, all fruit naturally contains sugar but juice drinks with a high sugar content are going to feed the infection and make it worse.
  • Cranberry Concentrate Tablets-If like me, you're not overly keen on the taste of Cranberry juice (especially no added sugar, although healthier, is a tad sharp!) Cranberry tablets are a good alternative (I've just ordered a S'Tonne from Holland & Barrett and as soon as I finish my Antibiotics plan on taking on everyday for the rest of my life).
  • General good hygiene around your lower regions-I doubt this needs much explaining but wiping front to back is one real quick way you can help lower the chance of contamination. Simple, but effective.
  • Weeing before & after intercourse-if you are having regular sex (with one regular partner, I hope!!) then peeing before sex (I am not saying right before btw, you don't have to wait :P) and then afterwards (again, not straight after "get off me, I gotta pee!" but within the next half hour) will help flush out any bugs pushed further up into your vagina/urethra.
  • Is there a chance you could have an STD? -sexually transmitted diseases like Chlamydia are one of the main and most frequent courses of Cystitis/UTI's. Any Doctor's surgery/sexual health clinic will be able to help you with this-in fact, in most surgeries you don't even need to see a Doctor an appointment with a nurse should be sufficient (for more guidance on this kinda thing go to:
  • Drinking your daily recommended allowance of WATER!-WATER IS SO IMPORTANT AND I HAVE SO MANY FRIENDS THAT DON'T EVEN DRINK IT AT ALL!?!? (and the most frustrating thing?-they never get cystitis at all!) 1.6 litres is the recommend amount for daily consumption, this will help flush all bad toxins out of your system.
    For the real human being who likes the fizzy and works hard so thinks they deserve it-do what I do and just have one small glass of pepsi or lemonade with meals, I don't drink alcohol as I find it's too hard on my system and I always suffer the next day anyway, but Pepsi Max is my one thing I cannot go without!
  • Notice any changes down there? Go see your Doctor! -Have you started noticing discharge? Smelly white or other colours in ya knickers when it wasn't there before? Go tell them, it can help prevent further infection/most of the time is a very minimal thing.
  • Wearing loose clothing/NO TIGHTS!-tights were the worst invention ever. They make you sweat and that harbors all sorts of bacteria! Hold ups all the way gal! And men find them sexier-bonus! ;)
  • Wearing Cotton Knickers-Don't get me wrong the lycra and the lace is great when you wanna get ya sex on, but day to day dealings and work-Cotton Panties only please! This material is just going to not promote sweating and bacteria growth. Nice...
These are just a few of things I find help, if you google cystitis/UTI's you'll find a whole other realm of preventatives that may or may not work for you, it's all about finding what your trigger/cure is. One lady once said to me about Dairy being her trigger! (but I do not find this is the case with me).

  • Cystitis Sachets: They come in a lil' box (generally 6 sachets) of high sodium powders that you dissolve in a glass of water and (generally down as quick as you bloomin can as they're disgusting!) these neutralise the high alkaline amount in them means it helps neutralise the acidity in your bladder/urine and helps relieves the symptoms, when I was younger I found these helped and when I have accute Cystitis now I find just one or two help in "nipping it in the bud" when I get the tell-tale lil' sting at the end of one wee. Now, I take no chances!
  • Ibuprofen: Can help with the pain relief I find paired with the sachets works best-don't just use this on it's own, it really will not work at all in getting rid of the infection.
  • Go to the Doc's and get some Antibiotics, generally they'll ask you to do a sample-I do this so often I have a stash of test tube/sample pots and I just do one before I leave to go to my appointment/do it quick whilst at the Doctor's before my appt. After popping some coloured bits of paper in your urine to see the result (the different colours mean different things are present, be it puss cells or blood etc.)
    they'll know what to prescribe.
  • Drinking nothing but water/cranberry juice-I find that Cranberry juice once you have the cystitis isn't great (just my opinion, a friend really swears by it) but it makes a nice break from the water!
  • Sit/Stand/Squat/do whatever you feel comfortable doing-my friend very often tells me to go get a hot water bottle, so I am assuming this helps her, I prefer personally to feel cooler/cold. So doing what makes you feel comfortable is best. I tend to stay in the bathroom, be it on the loo or just squatting on the floor or stood in the bathroom...but I just like the bathroom. (This really is not a nice experience gals, so I hope those of you who have never had it are starting to understand it!)
    I find a lot of the problem too (and after some discussion with my mum who also suffers, agreed) is that once you feel the start sensation, that lil' niggle after that first wee, you start to dread it as you know the pain that is, after a while it almost becomes psychological. I keep myself in the bathroom until I literally cannot take anymore and then go to bed, that may not necessarily be because of the pain, but because psychologically I feel better.
  • One of the horrible things about Cystitis is that there is no real-quick sure-fire cure, you do kinda have to ride it out a bit. Just remember lots of towel holding and deep breaths are good too!

I have suffered with it, as I said, for a long time but I have never had it as bad as this last time. I had to go to A&E it was so bad and I am pleased I did as they insisted I go back to my GP and get referred to a Urologist and also gave me a significantly better antibiotic than my GP I saw on Monday...but anyway, once I have been to the Urologist I will update this post and let you guys know if anything useful has come from it :).

I hope this post has helped you some what and for those of you suffering, I know your pain-and it is horrible, I have cried so much from the pain and will not let those tears go to waste! I am determined to now find out why the hell I have been/have been allowed by various GP's to suffer with this for nearly 10 years now.

The crux of Cystitis/UTI's: You're in so much pain and discomfort, you can't and don't want to do anything. And NOBODY should have to feel that low.

I love you guys and leave a comment if you have any suggestions of preventatives/treatments and please send me suggestions for updates to this post x x x

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