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Top Five Ways to Try to Prevent Cystitis

In order to understand what you can do to try to prevent cystitis it helps to know what causes cystitis in the first place, to ensure that you avoid these things as best you can.

Cystitis can be caused by several things; one of the most common, a bacterial infection, occurs when bacteria enter the bladder and multiply. This often happens if you are unable to empty your bladder properly or bacteria have been transferred to the urethra from the anus. Another reason that people tend to suffer from cystitis, is damage or irritation. Bruising of the bladder caused by forceful or frequent sex can lead to cystitis, as can using chemical irritants or wearing tight clothing.  So, how do you avoid these things and what are the best ways to prevent cystitis?

Be neutral

Using perfumed shower gel, soap, or deodorant around your genital area can irritate the region. Use a plain, un-perfumed, natural product with a neutral pH; this will retain your body’s delicate natural balance and prevent the pH level changing, which will cause discomfort, odour and irritation in most cases. By having a shower instead of a bath, you are minimising the time in which the more sensitive regions of your body are in contact with the chemicals in your cleansing products.

Be natural

Because your body is constantly covered in clothes, it is important that the material coming into contact with your sensitive areas will be kind to your skin and not agitate this delicate region. Ensure that the underwear you buy is made from soft, natural materials such as cotton or silk, rather than synthetic material like nylon. Wearing tight jeans or trousers should also be avoided, as this encourages chafing which can irritate the area, particularly after long periods of time.

Eat right

For some people, eating and drinking certain things can make cystitis worse. If you think this could be the case for you, then it’s best to keep a food diary until you to determine which foods are triggering your cystitis, so that they can be avoided.

Use Lube

It’s always a good idea to wash your genital area and your hands thoroughly before and after sex, as this can be a prime time for the spreading of bacteria. You should also use lubricant to avoid any unnecessary friction or chafing, which will lead to discomfort and increase chances of infection. Always remember to use a water based lubricant if you have latex condoms however, as oil-based lubricants can damage latex material.

Leave it out

Empty your bladder as soon as you feel the need to; delaying it can make you prone to infection. It’s also a good idea to empty your bladder straight after sex, as this will flush out any unwanted bacteria. Make sure that you empty your bladder fully, and always wipe from the front to the back to make sure no bacteria is carried forward. For women, using a diaphragm for contraception or a tampon for sanitary purposes can make the area more vulnerable to infection, so those that are prone to cystitis may wish to consider other methods.

Sources:

Two main causes: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cystitis/Pages/Causes.aspx

Prevention: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cystitis/Pages/Prevention.aspx