Cystitis Treatment

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Cystitis Treatment UK

You can buy antibiotics for cystitis treatment online without a prescription with our online doctor service. This condition is a common type of lower urinary tract infection (UTI) that can cause a painful stinging sensation upon urination. This often is the result of a bacterial infection in the bladder. Sometimes it’s referred to as a ‘water infection’. 

Women who are prone to repeated episodes of cystitis should inform their GP. This service is more specifically aimed at infrequent occurrences of cystitis. Men rarely suffer from the condition. Men with cystitis need to have a face to face consultation with their GP if they feel they may have a urine infection. 

Our doctors can prescribe cystitis medication such as Trimethoprim, Nitrofurantoin or Macrobid to treat the condition. 

Once you have completed the online doctor consultation, our doctors will review your assessment and prescribe the selected medication if it is safe. Our pharmacy will then dispense and dispatch your prescription to your door.

For more information, visit the NHS cystitis page.

Cystitis Treatment

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What's on this page?

About Cystitis

Cystitis is the name for bladder inflammation, usually caused by a bladder infection. It is a common condition in women. Estimates suggest that by the age of 24, almost a third of women will have had cystitis at least once.   

Cystitis is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI) and is sometimes called a lower UTI. Generally, it is irritating and mild cases usually resolve within a few days. However, some women experience cystitis often. 

It may also lead to more serious problems such as kidney infections or upper urinary tract infections. These are more serious and require medical attention as soon as possible.

It is much more common in women than in men and, although it is not known why exactly, it is thought that the urethra being much shorter may be a factor. Men with symptoms of cystitis (lower UTI) should always see their GP, whereas mild cystitis may go away without cystitis tablets for women.

Cystitis Causes

It is usually caused by a bacterial infection. Cystitis can be caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract and travelling into the bladder through the tube that carries urine called the urethra. The urethra is the thin tube that removes urine from the body.

The bladder is usually a sterile environment, meaning there are no bacteria in the area. The presence of bacteria causes the immune system to respond causing inflammation and irritation people notice as symptoms.

Urinary tract infections can also be caused by a catheter being inserted into the bladder as the risk of bacteria entering the urinary tract increases with insertion procedures.

The most common bacteria that cause cystitis is E.coli. This bacteria makes up 75-95% of cases.

Cystitis (UTI) Symptoms

Cystitis frequently causes symptoms of pain, burning or stinging when you pass urine. It can also cause pain and discomfort in the lower stomach, the need to urinate more often, strong-smelling urine and a sense of bladder fullness when empty.

In severe cases, the symptoms of a UTI may be, blood in your urine, side or back pain, high temperature or feeling feverish, or sometimes a very low temperature. Sometimes UTIs can cause you to become drowsy or confused. If you notice any of these serious symptoms, you should contact your GP or NHS 111 immediately.


Diagnosis of cystitis can often be completed with a series of questions by a doctor. These will go through other possible causes for the symptoms and rule them out. This is important as there are a number of conditions that may cause similar symptoms in the genital area that would require different treatments. 

If a doctor is unsure about diagnosis or would like to check for antibiotic resistance, a urine sample can be used for a urine culture. This allows the doctor to identify which bacteria caused the infection and whether it is resistant to any antibiotics.

Recurrent UTIs or cystitis will require further investigation by a doctor to identify the reason behind the repeat infections and consider preventative treatments if necessary.

Cystitis Treatments

Mild cases often get better without antibiotics. If you have had mild symptoms for less than 2 days, there are some things you can do to relieve your symptoms while it clears up:  

  • You can take over the counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to help with any pain.
  • Avoid sex until you feel better. Having sex when you have cystitis can worsen your symptoms.
  • Drinking plenty of water might help to flush out the infection.

UTI treatments and over the counter cystitis remedies are available to help with mild cases of cystitis. These change the acidity of your urine which can help provide cystitis relief from symptoms. One such product, Cystopurin, is available from our shop section.

Drinking cranberry juice is thought by some to improve symptoms, but there is limited evidence to suggest it is effective.

Antibiotics for UTIs

If your symptoms are more severe or have not improved within 3 days you may need antibiotics to treat the infection. For cystitis, UTI antibiotics in the UK are usually prescribed for short periods (around 3 days). Sometimes they may be prescribed for a week or longer.

Sometimes, your GP may test your urine to help them decide the most appropriate antibiotic to use. Trimethoprim or nitrofurantoin are usually the first choices of cystitis antibiotics. Other antibiotics for severe water infections are fosfomycin and pivmecillinam.

Antibiotics are usually effective cystitis treatments. Symptoms should improve within 1 or 2 days of treatment. Even if you begin to feel better after 1-2 days, it is important that you complete the entire prescribed course of antibiotics for cystitis. If you find there is no improvement, you should speak to your GP because you may need a different UTI treatment.

Preventing Cystitis

To lower your chances of getting cystitis it is important that you follow the following lifestyle advice:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids, preferably water
  • Always wiping from front to back after urinating
  • Emptying your bladder as soon as possible after sex
  • Avoiding perfumed products like bubble bath, talcum powder or soap


  • What is cystitis?

    Cystitis is the name for bladder inflammation, usually caused by a lower bladder infection with bacteria.

    Mild cases of cystitis often improve within 2 days but more severe cases can last longer. If your symptoms do not improve within 2 days, you should speak to a doctor.

  • Can cystitis cause any complications?

    Cystitis in men is usually an indication of a more serious problem and requires medical help from your GP. It can also be caused by STIs which can have other complications. Men should see their GP if they suffer from cystitis.

    Women can use treatment without face to face referral but if it doesn’t clear up, medical advice is needed. This is because if left untreated after it hasn’t cleared up, it can lead to a serious kidney infection.

  • What treatments are there for Cystitis?

    For milder cases, treatment with potassium citrate sachets may be sufficient. For more stubborn infections, a course of water infection tablets such as Trimethoprim may be required.

  • What is the best antibiotic for cystitis?

    This depends on what bacteria is causing your infection. The most common type of bacteria which causes uncomplicated UTI’s is E. coli. The antibiotics which are given to treat this bacteria are Trimethoprim or Nitrofurantoin. If your symptoms do not improve after completing a course of these antibiotics, it is important to see your GP to have your urine tested in case it is a different bacteria that need a different antibiotic.

  • Can I get cystitis antibiotics online?

    Our UK registered online doctor service can offer antibiotic treatment. We ask that you complete an online medical assessment for our doctors to review. If suitable, our doctors will write a prescription and send it to our UK pharmacy. Your medicine will then be dispatched to your chosen address.

  • Can I get cystitis treatment over the counter?

    No, cystitis and UTI antibiotic treatments are prescriptions only in the UK. Symptomatic relief medicines are available over the counter however, these do not treat cystitis itself. Cystitis treatments are available online, but only after completing an assessment reviewed by a doctor who can provide a prescription to an online pharmacy.

  • How do I get rid of cystitis fast?

    Mild cases of cystitis may resolve on their own. During that time it is best to drink plenty of fluid and use symptomatic relief medicines such as ibuprofen and paracetamol. For infections that do not resolve, a 3-day course of antibiotics should provide relief in 24-48 hours.

  • Will my UTI come back after antibiotics?

    If the infection was not fully cleared when you stop antibiotics, it is likely that the infection will return. Alternatively, it could be another UTI that has occurred soon after the first. It is important that you take steps to prevent UTIs with lifestyle changes such as staying hydrated and urinating after sex.

  • Why are UTIs more common in women?

    It is speculated to be because of women having a shorter urethra and the urethra tube being closer to the anus where E.coli can make its way up the urinary tract to cause infection.

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