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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 Anita

I’m sorry to hear of your mother-in-law suffering from a urine infection. It can be very painful indeed. If she has not already seen her GP, I would recommend she book in ASAP. If already taking antibiotics for the urinary tract infection, she may find cranberry of assistance. As discussed above Cranberry may discourage the adherence of bacteria to the urinary tract. She may also benefit from a probiotic supplement containing Lactobacillus reuteri
If your mother-in-law would like more specific advice for her individual needs she can contact us here on free call 1800 803 760 Monday to Friday.
Kind regards, Emma (Blackmores naturopath)
I am sending this on behalf my mother-in-law she has an urine infectin and is causing her so much discomfort. is there some thing that she can use.
Anonymous 24 Mar 2014
Hi Ken
Yes these symptoms do sound very frustrating.
As discussed above under the heading causes there are different types of cystitis and without knowing what is causing the inflammation it is difficult to offer specific advice. Perhaps discuss these different types of cystitis with your doctor.
I would suggest avoiding foods as listed below which may aggravate your urinary symptoms.

Avoid coffee, tea, soda, alcohol and citrus juices. Foods and beverages containing artificial sweeteners. Hot peppers and spicy foods may also aggravate urinary symptoms.

And very importantly make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Slippery Elm powder (mixed in water) may also help to soothe the inflammation of the mucous membranes in the bladder

Kind regards
Kath (Blackmores Naturopath)
My Specialist has detected my bladder has iinflammation through biopsy and not sure whats causing it. He indicated if it was infected he could clear it up easily, however he's not sure what causing the inflammation.
It's bloody annoying when you feel like pissing you only do a small amount and 20 to 30 minutes later you ned to go again for the same amount. then on other occasions you have normal passing of urine. On almost every time theres a burning feeling during mid passing
Anonymous 24 Feb 2014
Hi John,
Same with me and was prescribed slow release anti-inflammatory by my specialist.
Finally, it worked!!!!!!
Anonymous 21 Jan 2014
Hi John, I’m sorry to hear of the pain and discomfort you have been experiencing. It’s difficult to give dietary or herbal advice in this forum for what sounds like a serious condition that also involves other medications. John, I recommend calling the Blackmores Advisory team on 1800 803 760 to discuss your case further. The naturopaths on this team are able to advise you and recommend products to support your condition, if it is not of a serious or complicated nature.

You have listed a range of symptoms which need to be carefully assessed and investigated. My suggestion would be to consult with a naturopath, or other complimentary health-care professional. In this situation a full history can be taken and a detailed assessment can be made. A naturopath will be able to provide treatment that can be used in conjunction with recommendations made by your doctor.

All the best John, Leanne (a Blackmores naturopath)
Have Cystitis of the bladder caused by Radiation burn, have severe pain when urinating and severe Urgency problems.
Because of severe pain I am taking prescribed by my GP Oxycontin plus Panadol Osteo. Iwould appreciate advice on a dietry basis or herbal relief I realise this is going to be a time factor but any help or reccomendations would be appreciated.
John Hall
Anonymous 12 Aug 2013
Hi Kokila, cloudy urine can be caused by a number of conditions, which can be confirmed by your healthcare professional. The herb cranberry works by discouraging adherence of bacteria in the urinary tract and by promoting urinary tract health. It also helps mask urinary odours associated with incontinence, and may help reduce recurrence of cystitis. Please don’t hesitate to email for any further advice. All the best, Jennifer (Blackmores Naturopath)