I had a phase of having cystitis every few weeks for around 6/7 months. It got to the point I ended up in hospital crying on uncomfortable plastic chairs, surrounded by doctors poking and prodding me saying it was potentially worse than originally thought and I could have spinal issues going by how much pain I was in….that was a fun night. I had so many blood tests done and eventually one doctor commented that my records show that I have the implant and one of the side effects of that is UTIs. Something my doctor forgot to mention! The implant was pretty much instantly taken out and *touch wood* I haven’t had cystitis since. However I do fully appreciate the pain and discomfort that comes with this joyous experience, so I’ve made a list of things to help ease (pretty much) the worst thing about being a girl.
I was frequently found at 2am sat in a steaming hot bath. If I couldn’t sleep, which was more often than not because lets face it, it’s difficult to get comfortable when you have to get up every five minutes, I’d be up running a bath and closing in all the steam. I became a bit of a pro at running a silent bath. Having a hot bath relaxes your muscles, you’re already in the bathroom so you don’t need to be running about constantly and it does make you a bit sleepy. Use a nice mild bubble bath, or just have it plain.
Cut out sugary drinks
I was always taught to drink cranberry juice, and at the height of the pain I was working in a restaurant that gave us unlimited fruit juices. As you can imagine I was knocking back pints of cranberry juice like my life depended on it. Until I was told by my nan that the sugar in those fruit juices actually helps the bacteria to grow and will basically extend the infection. Stopped drinking cranberry or apple juice, cut out caffeine for the duration of the cystitis and saw an immediate effect.
I know this isn’t realistic to do every day but sweet diggity fresh pyjamas and bed sheets HELP. Have a nice long hot bath, have a pamper, shave and moisturise, put on clean pyjamas and get into bed. You’ll feel clean and fresh, and that will always help.
Easier said than done but keep yourself REALLY busy. I was frequently working weddings and Friday/Saturday nights during cystitis bouts and those nights absolutely flew by compared to the quiet days where there was nothing to do. Keeping your mind busy makes you forget for a while that it feels like you’re being stabbed with tiny burning knives. On slow days at work I would sit curled up in a ball next to the glass washer – perfect heat – and more often than I’d like would be sent home.
Don’t beat yourself up
Eat crap food and enjoy it. Lets be honest, nobody really wants to sit and eat a salad when they’re ill. Eat the carby goodness and feel a bit better about life.
On the other hand, going for a walk can help. I found if I put my headphones in and just walked around the neighbourhood the pain would be a bit less intense and I’d feel a bit better about myself, like I’d actually done something good that day. Obviously swimming is a big no no, thinking of all the bacteria in a pool as it is just makes me a bit uncomfortable….but a gentle walk or cycle can make you feel ten times better.
Check with a doctor
I got sort of lucky – a doctor at the hospital checked my notes and realised I had the implant in and connected the two together even though no other doctor had. Even if you don’t have it, check with your doctor if you’re getting cystitis regularly. Chances are they’ll do blood and urine tests, mine refused to…… I ended up having multiple tests done in A&E which resulted in me being asked why I hadn’t come in sooner. (Because my doctor had refused to do tests, saying they would take too long….I got them done in an hour.) Be stubborn. Something’s wrong with your body which you know better than anyone, it could be you just have crap luck or it could be something more serious.
Do you have any other tips to share?