What a woman has to know to prevent cystitis


Cystitis is usually caused by bacterial colonisation of the vagina and the area around the external meatus. In 95% of cases bacteria come from the area around the anus, grow inside the vagina, enter the bladder through the external meatus and urethra, keep growing and cause cystitis.

To prevent cystitis you have to avoid the bacterial colonisation and growth in the vagina and in the bladder:

  1. Reduce the bacterial count in the area around the anus after bowel movements:
    • use a bidet for washing the perianal area, use mild soap and clean the area around the anus gently, wiping from front to back. Any wiping motion that starts nearer to the rectum and then approaches the bladder-opening area moves potentially pathogenic bacteria closer to the bladder; finally dry the area between urethral meatus and anus with clean towel with the same movements front to back;
    • If you can't use a bidet a cleansing antiseptic wet wipe can be used with the same wiping motions;
  2. Avoid to create a good environment to bacterial growth in the genital area:
  • Use tampons for periods. Tampons are advised during the menstrual period rather than sanitary napkins or pads because they keep the bladder opening area drier than a sanitary pad, thereby limiting bacterial overgrowth;
  • Do not wear tight-fitting undergarments made of nonbreathing materials. With such fabrics, accumulating moisture builds up .This leads to maceration of the skin and bacterial over growth adjacent to the opening of the bladder Cotton underwear for general use is suggested;
  • Avoid the use of spermicidal jelly. This kills sperm as well as normal vaginal florae, which are extremely important in suppressing colonization with pathogenic bacteria;
  • Vaginal douches have to be avoided;
  1. Avoid that bacteria enter the bladder:
  • Take special precautions after sexual activity; such activity may also increase risk because it can introduce bacteria into the bladder area. The cleaning of the genital area has to be done just before the sexual intercourse. Moreover, the bladder should be emptied just after intercourse; drink 2 extra glasses of water;
  • When engaging in physical activity and exercise, make sure to empty the bladder frequently and drink plenty of water and other fluids;
  • Take showers and avoid prolonged baths. Bath water may fairly quickly become contaminated by the bather's own skin florae. Sitting in a tub allows bacteria to reach the bladder opening area.
  1. Avoid that the bacteria grow into your bladder:
  • Extremely effective is avoiding long intervals between urinating; try to empty the bladder at least every 4 hours during the day while awake, even if the need or urge to void is absent; when feeling the need to empty the bladder, do not try to "hold it" until a more convenient time or place.
  • Drink more water. Start with 1 extra glass with each meal. If the urine appears any darker than a very pale yellow, this means not enough liquid is being ingested; increase the fluid intake.