Treating cystitis

Mildcystitis will usually clear up on its own within a few days, although sometimes you may need to take antibiotics.

See your GP for advice and treatment if:

  • you're not sure whether you have cystitis
  • your symptomsdon't start to improve within a few days
  • you get cystitis frequently
  • you have severe symptoms, such as Urine, blood in the
  • you're pregnant and have symptoms of cystitis
  • you're a man and have symptoms of cystitis
  • your child has symptoms of cystitis

Women who have had cystitis before don't necessarily need to see their GP if the condition returns, asmild cases oftenget better without antibiotics . You can try the self-help measures below or ask your pharmacist for advice.

Things you can try yourself

If you've had cystitis before and don'tfeel you need to see your GP, the following advice may help to relieve your symptoms until the condition clears up:

  • take over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen always read the medicine information leaflet beforehand to check whether you can take it, and check with your pharmacist if you're not sure
  • drink plenty of water it's been suggested this may help flush the infection out of your bladder and some people find it helpful, although it's not clear how effective it actually is
  • use a hot water bottle holding a hot water bottle on your tummy or between your thighs may reduce any discomfort
  • don't have sex until you're feeling better, becauseit may make the condition worse

Some people find drinking cranberry juice or using products that reduce the acidity of their urine (such as sodium bicarbonate or potassium citrate) reduce their symptoms, but there's a lack of evidence to suggest they're effective.

These products are also not suitable for everyone. Check with your GP or pharmacist before trying themif you're taking any other medication.


In some cases, your GP may prescribe acourse of antibiotics. This will usually involve taking a tabletor capsule two tofourtimes a day for three days.

Antibiotics should start to have an effect quite quickly. Return to your GP if your symptoms haven't started to improve within a few days.

Most people won't have any side effects from antibiotic treatment, but possible side effects can include feeling or being sick, itching , a rash and diarrhoea .

Ifcystitis keeps coming back

If you keep getting cystitis (known as recurrentcystitis) your doctor may prescribe stand-by antibiotics or continuous antibiotics.

A stand-by antibiotic is a prescription you can take toa pharmacy the next time you have symptoms ofcystitis, without needing to visit your GP first.

Continuous antibiotics are taken for several months to prevent further episodes of cystitis. These may be prescribed:

  • if cystitis usually occurs after having sex you may be given a prescription for antibiotics to take within two hours of having sex
  • if cystitis is not related to having sex you may be given a low-dose antibiotic to take for a trial period of six months

Your doctor may also recommend some measures you can take to prevent cystitis , although it's not clear how effective these are.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 28 Nov 2016