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Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder, commonly caused by a urinary tract infection (UTI). It is more likely to affect women than men, causing discomfort and inconvenience.


  • A burning sensation when urinating     
  • Frequent need to urinate, with little urine passed     
  • Urine may have a strong, foul odour and/or a cloudy or bloody appearance     
  • A feeling of pressure in the pelvic region and/or pain in the lower abdomen   
  • Lower abdominal pain may occur
  • Kidney infection can occur as a complication of cystitis; symptoms may include fever, chills, and low back pain. If you suspect you have a kidney infection, seek immediate medical advice. 
  • Urinary tract infections in men or children may be a symptom of an underlying disorder and should be investigated and managed by a medical practitioner.


Most cystitis is caused by the migration of E. coli bacteria (which inhabit the digestive tract) from the anus into the urinary system via the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside). Once in the bladder, the bacteria multiply.  

Women are more prone to UTIs than men due to the proximity of the female urethra to the anus, and the relatively short length of the female urethra. Hormonal factors also contribute, making the female bladder a more hospitable environment for the bacteria during pregnancy and some stages of the menstrual cycle and after menopause.  

Some women contract the infection following sexual intercourse, which can cause bacteria to be pushed into the bladder via the urethra.

These factors combine to mean that many women experience urinary discomfort at least once a year, and some suffer from recurrent episodes of cystitis.

Interstitial cystitis is a form of cystitis in which the symptoms of infection are present, but there is no detectable infection. This is a more difficult form of the condition to manage, and its cause is unknown, however family history, infections and allergies have all been suggested as possible causes or contributing factors.

Diet and lifestyle

  • Drink plenty of clean water to encourage frequent urination and the flushing of the urinary tract.   
  • Always wipe from front to back after going to the toilet, and be sure to urinate as soon as possible after you feel the urge, making sure you empty your bladder completely each time. 
  • Wash your genitals immediately before sex, and ask your partner to do the same. Additionally, urinate immediately after sexual intercourse to flush out any bacteria in the urethra.     
  • Wear cotton (not nylon) underwear and avoid tight clothing, instead choosing loose, non-binding clothing made from natural fabrics.
  • Natural therapists recommend drinking marshmallow and corn silk teas to relieve the burning pain of cystitis.   
  • Don’t use perfumed bubble baths, soaps, talcum powder or any form of deodorant around the genital region. 
  • Thrush may promote cystitis; so if you experience symptoms of thrush, take immediate steps to resolve the issue.

Important notes

  • UTIs sometimes cause serious complications, so it is vital that you consult your healthcare professional if your symptoms continue for more than 48 hours. Symptoms of vomiting, fever, chills, or abdominal or back pain should all be medically investigated.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if blood is present in the urine, or if a child is exhibiting symptoms of UTI.  

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Hi there, I’m sorry to hear you have had no success with your current condition. If you are seeking integrative medicine approach and not having any relief with common over the counter products like cranberry or probiotics, then I would advise you see a naturopath or herbalist in private consultation. This way all areas of your health that may be leading to your condition can be addresses adequately and specific recommendations given. Kind regards Emma (Blackmores naturopath)
Blackmores Advisory Team
Blackmores Advisory Team 20 Apr 2015
I have been to seen five different doctors three general practiioners and to at the hospital they come up with no result what is my best course of action as I am in a lot of pain.
Anonymous 20 Apr 2015
Hi Jan,
Thanks for your post.
I’m sorry to hear that you are experiencing these symptoms.
I think the best thing for you to do at this point in time would be to see your doctor, and have some further investigation and testing done to try and ascertain what might be causing these sensations for you.
Once you have a diagnosis, you are welcome to contact us again to see if there is any further advice or support we can offer you.
All the best Jan.
Kind regards,
Charmaine (Blackmores naturopath)
Charmaine 08 Dec 2014
I have irritable bladder symptoms of fullness and pressure that are no relieved after emptying my bladder, but no pain or burning on urination.
Anonymous 08 Dec 2014
Dear Fay
It is important to make sure you do not have a urinary tract infection or thrush. Your Doctor can test you for these conditions. Underlying conditions such as you mention with pre diabetes may also need further investigation and treatment as they can affect the symptoms you are describing. Following a low glycaemic index diet is very beneficial for pre diabetes dietary management.
For the thrush symptoms the naturopathic recommendations focus on probiotics containing the strains Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri which helps restore good bacteria in the vagina which may help protect against imbalances in the vagina. If it is thrush we also recommend that your partner seeks treatment as well. A supplement containing cranberry concentrate may also be recommended to help reduce the recurrence of cystitis. Cranberry discourages adherence of bacteria in the urinary tract and promotes urinary tract health. It is also helpful to pass urine before and after sex as this also helps flush out bacteria in the urinary tract (urethra). Make sure you drink plenty of water to assist flushing and maintaining adequate hydration. Fay, please feel free to call our Naturopathic Advisory Service on 1800 803 760 if you would like further support or assistance with your health concerns . Kind regards, Kath (Blackmores Naturopath)

I have had this burning sensation of burning after I urine or after sex for over a year I keep thinking it is an infection because I am not cleaning enough - Doctors keep giving me prescription for thrust
Now I am frustrated with my self and my sore back and stomach just before my period - I am boarder line diabetic also and I have a lot of discharge - my urine wakes me up to three times a night for a few drops - what am I doing wrong - what can I take to help me get well?
Dear Roslyn,
Thank you for your post.
Since this pain has been occurring for 4/5 months, I suggest you request a referral from your GP to a Gynaecologist. Your specialist may recommend an ultrasound and I feel for peace of mind, it is beneficial to investigate further.
Kind regards Michelle (Blackmores Naturopath)
Am not sure about this subject BUT am 48+yrs old and every time I endure the 'seems-to-be-never-ending' period stage in Females lives, in the left groin area, I get a marble-sized ball. Down below swells, is touchy and becomes irritable/sore/sometimes painful urinating...
This has been happening now for about 4/5 months and Dr. said to see him when the cycle finishes BUT it all then goes down and very little is the same until next time so please advise me of what to do>leave it and let it keep happening/as soon as it's felt, go to Dr. and get it looked at (period time is very shortly after)/get it done at any time/take something?

Thanks in advance .. Kind Regards Roslyn
Anonymous 02 Jul 2014