Q: Should I drink cranberry juice all of the time, or only when I get an attack of bacterial cystitis?
A: Cranberry juice may be of help in preventing an attack as it has a bacteriostatic effect (inhibits bacterial growth). During an attack however, it has little effect. Beware of the high sugar content of some brands, as this may actually encourage the growth of bacteria.
Q: I am prone to an attack of bacterial cystitis after sexual intercourse, what can I do to prevent this?
A: Tips to help you avoid cystitis following sexual intercourse include:
- Pass urine before and after sex (within 15 minutes).
- Wash before and after sex (this includes your partner). Remember that it is important to wash your hands as well as your genitals.
- If natural lubrication is a problem, lubricating gels can be purchased from a pharmacy.
- If a diaphragm is your method of contraception, then ensure that it is fitted correctly.
- If the problem persists despite these measures, your GP may recommend taking a single antibiotic tablet/capsule immediately following intercourse. This frequently helps to prevent the problem.
Q: I have been diagnosed as suffering from cystitis glandularis. What is this and how does it affect IC sufferers?
A: Cystitis glandularis is the term given to describe the appearance of the bladder lining in a certain form of bladder inflammation which is usually due to chronic urinary infection. A milder form of inflammation is termed cystitis cystica because the bladder lining breaks out in multiple tiny blisters. A slightly more severe form is called cystitis glandularis in which the "blisters" have a slightly thicker lining and in which the bladder lining itself acquires a cobblestoned appearance. There is no direct relationship between these forms of inflammation and IC as these are due mainly to infection whereas the diagnosis of IC rests on a number of clinical symptoms, signs cystoscopic and urodynamic findings. They may of course co-exist with Bladder Pain Syndrome/Interstitial Cystitis.
Mr Paul Irwin MCh FRCSI(Urol)
Bladder Health UK has a Cystitis handbook, available free for members – join us to receive a copy.