Cystitis and thrush are not normally serious health conditions, and can be treated with relative ease. A quick round of antibiotics can clear up cystitis, while vaginal thrush can be treated with a single-dose capsule, pessaries or cream. But, anyone who suffers from recurring episodes from either of these conditions can attest that it’s never fun to feel the first pangs of an infection coming on. They can be painful, and it’s a ‘pain’ to have to locate the medicines to treat them.
Certain lifestyle changes can help stave off cystitis and thrush before they start, and if you’re a woman who is prone to one or both of them, it pays to learn more about non-medical preventative measures.
In most cases of recurring cystitis there is no apparent reason why the infection continues to return. It often just has to do with a person’s individual makeup, in which the body is slightly less able to resist the bacteria that enters the urethra and causes the infection.
Though the effects of lifestyle changes on preventing cystitis haven’t been proven in studies, there are certain recommendations to follow.
Stay hydrated. Bacteria can thrive in urine, so it is best to just stay well hydrated and empty your bladder, completely, and as often as you can.
Wipe from front to back after urinating. This prevents bacteria from your back passage being transferred to the urethra.
Maintain good hygiene by keeping the genital area clean. But, avoid douches, scented wipes and vaginal deodorants which can make it more difficult for the vulva to fend off infection.
Try taking showers instead of baths. This can prevent any soapy water or bacteria from entering the urethra.
Urinate immediately after sex in order to flush bacteria from the urethra. You can also try drinking a full glass of water before and after sex.
Vaginal thrush, or yeast infections, are caused by yeast from the fungi called Candida. Candida is often present in the vagina without causing any problem, but it can become active and produce symptoms from time to time. It can flare up for no clear reason, although it is more common in women who are taking antibiotics, who are pregnant, have diabetes or when the body’s defences are lowered due to illness.
Women who tend to have frequent yeast infections can try the following.
Wear cotton or natural fibre underwear and avoid constrictive trousers or tights. Looser cotton clothing will help keep the area dry.
Avoid irritants such as douches, perfumed shower gels and soaps, scented wipes and vaginal deodorants.
Use an emollient soap substitute to wash the area around the vagina. Wash just once a day to avoid dry skin and irritation.
After cleansing and drying thoroughly, apply an oilier moisturiser to the skin around the vagina to protect it.
Have your partner use treatment for thrush. If you have recurring thrush, it is possible the infection is being passed backwards and forwards between you and your male partner.
Also, because cystitis and thrush are common among women with diabetes, it is important for diabetics to keep their blood sugar under control. Particularly with regard to cystitis, high sugar levels in the urine can allow bacteria to multiply in the bladder.
Often added to yoghurt or taken as supplements, these live bacteria and yeasts are thought to have a number of health benefits, including restoring the natural balance of bacteria in the stomach and intestines. Probiotics are not officially recommended for the treatment of cystitis or vaginal thrush but they are safe to try and, and if you have a healthy immune system you shouldn’t experience any unwanted effects.