Saturday, 16 May 2015

Female Health Advice; Cystitis

I thought I would start going a little more personal on the blog, the reason being is that, if my mother never told me about cystitis I may have gone online and scared myself silly about "what was wrong with me" - so I thought I'd start doing a little Female Health Advice (FHA) section on my blog as it can be handy, and I don't see many bloggers (those who have a big following anyway) do many 'personal' 'health' posts!

WARNING - This post will include in detail explanations, about the boobs, 'lady garden' and all sorts of intimate stuff. If you are squeamish or don't feel comfortable reading anything like this please do not read ANY further!

Please Note - I am most definitely NOT a Doctor or qualified in female health specifically; these are what has helped me in my own experiences of these issues. If you are worried about anything with your body please consult a medical professional.

I'm going to start with two definitions of what a urine infection is and the definition of Cystitis.
(Definitions from the NHS Choices Website)

Urinary Tract Infection - 
A UTI develops when part of the urinary tract becomes infected, usually by bacteria. Bacteria can enter the urinary tract through the urethra or, more rarely, through the bloodstream. 

Cystitis - The most common cause of cystitis is a bacterial infection. If bacteria reach the bladder, they can multiply and irritate the bladder lining, leading to the symptoms of cystitis. Cystitis can also occur from damage or irritation around the uretha.

The past two weeks haven't been great for me in the female health department. On the 25th April, I had a horrific burning sensation as I passed urine - and I mean horrific. I actually started to cry, I only passed a little as well which was a huge concern. It didn't really help I was mid way through a photoshoot either and I did the very stereotypical thing of "I can't ruin my make-up!". So, I got a nice big glass of water, it didn't help the pain but it would help later on if I needed to pee.

So I got home (after a gruelling hour journey on the bus) and ran to my mum in tears saying how much in pain I was and told me what to do, I also looked up on what to do for pressure/pain when passing urine...

What You Can Do
  • Drink as much plain water as possible! No fizzy drinks, no juice, nothing acidic. 

    But definitely drink some cranberry juice! I upped my water intake to about 3/4 Litres at this time or until it helped ease a little of the pressure and should help clear out your bladder a little.
  • Take off your underwear! Be free!
    Okay, I'm serious though. Taking off your underwear, and putting on a maxi skirt or dress will help get the air to your intimate area, you may think it has nothing to do with the pressure inside you but it can be in relation to sweating due to confinement and if there is bacteria, letting the air get to you will most definitely help.
  • Painkillers (Optional)
    If the pain is really super unbearable for you, take some paracetamol or ibuprofen. Even if it only helps a little, if it makes you feel a little more comfortable then take some. Only you know your body, so its your decision.
    If you are in pain in this area, please please please just avoid sex! It may cause further irritation and damage and you will definitely regret the pleasure later on, save it for when you are better and don't let it get worse down there!
  • Over the Counter Relief (Optional)
    I found in my local Lloyds Pharmacy you can get hold of these Cystitis relief sachets, its a 2 day course. One sachet, 3 times a day in 200ml of water. This can also help with the making your urine less acidic and can help relief some of the pain but do not just rely on these. Visit your doctor if symptoms haven't cleared after you've finished this short course. 
If you have mild cystits/urinary tract infection then your symptoms should clear up after a few days if you keep drinking plenty of fluids.

What to do if the symptoms don't go away or get worse
In my case, after trying this for 5 days, my symptoms got worse. I got to the point that I was scared to go to the toilet due to the amount of pain I would be in. I ended up biting into my sleeve of my top or a clean towel just to try and stem the pain/frustration into something while I pee'd.

If like me, it gets worse still after 3-4 days, please go to the Doctor's. If you can't get an appointment at the doctors, at least maybe go to a pharmacy and ask to have a short private consultation. A lot of pharmacies now days have little rooms for private matters and they may be able to help you until you can get to the doctor's.

Now ladies, if you don't feel comfortable just ask to see a female doctor. I, myself didn't really care as I was at the point of pain I just wanted to see a Doctor ASAP and didn't really care if they were male or female. My doctor was male, however this didn't fuss me. He asked me several questions in relation to the pressure and pain when peeing. 

PRO TIP! If you are going to the Doctor's for this sort of issue, its almost certain they will ask for a urine sample. Make sure you drink a pint of water before you leave just so you have something to pass when needed!

My doctor asked if I was comfortable with him examining me or if I wanted a nurse to. I wasn't fussed, so he checked and confirmed it was cystitis. (Not all Doctor's will examine you, mine chose to due to previous medical history).

Please be prepared for some pretty evasive questions asked by the Doctor, don't get embarrassed! Just remember there is a reason why the Doctor is asking these questions, they want to get a good idea about your condition. Below are some questions I was asked (of what I can remember!)...
  • Your Fluid Intake
  • Your recent sexual activity/are you sexually active
  • Is there any chance you are pregnant
  • What symptoms you're experiencing
  • How long and to what extent are your symptoms
  • How often do you go to the toilet 
  • What sort of pain are your experiencing and where about's does it effect you most
Although be prepared for anything! It can vary with each doctor and person and if it may be in relation to other medications or not.

What Happens Next
Your Doctor will ask for a urine sample, mine took a dip sample and confirmed I had cystitis. I was originally on a 7 day course of 200mg Trimethoprim (Antibiotics). However this medication didn't work for me, I was extremely nauseous the first two days but the medication didn't actually get rid of the pain/pressure I was experiencing. I finished my course (out of hope) but if by the fifth day of your course you feel there is no change, or your side effects are bad please ring your doctor or book another appointment.
I went back on the last day of my course to ask what to do next, I was asked to re-do another urine sample to be sent off to a lab for testing just to make sure nothing else, like a Sexually Transmitted Infection. My results came back clear that it was just cystitis. 
I was then put on 50mg Nitofurantoin, one tablet, 4 times a day. Throughout this course, I was very sick and unwell. I rang my doctor and he said I should be fine, finish the course and at a later point I will have an allergy test to make sure I'm not allergic to anything in the medication although he told me it wasn't severe so I should persevere until the end.
Each doctor will prescribe something different for each individual based on their own health, and if there is any other medical problems. But these were just the two lots of antibiotics I was prescribed. 

If you have any problems with your intimate area then please seek medical advice. Never ever suffer in silence! You could just be making things worse if you leave things too long.

If you have an issue you would like me to discuss, then please feel free to email me. Even if you wish to be anonymous, I won't disclose any information to anyone other then myself. Email me on

Lots of Love

Emma Victoria