Not sexy, not cool - but cystitis is something more than 50% of women will experience at least once in their lives...
Ah, cystitis. Over half of all women will experience at least one bout of cystitis at some point in their lives. You could describe this bacteria infection as:
- Frequent sprints to the bathroom with hands splayed in the face of whoever is in your way followed by the annoyance of not much coming out.
- The urge to urinate warm, burning fluid, comparable to lava pouring out of a volcano.
- Unusually odoured urine, possibly cloudy or bloody in appearance.
- Cramping not related to your period.
In short, it’s a total pain, both figuratively and literally.
Yep, cystitis ain’t pleasant, but there are ways for the infection to be prevented, treated and not ruin your honeymoon.
What is honeymoon cystitis?
Cystitis is linked to honeymoons or the 'honeymoon period' of a new relationship with very good reason: a significant number of all these women will find sexual intercourse to be a trigger for the bacteria infection.
Whilst any kind of sex can be one common trigger of cystitis – there might be other causes, dependant on the woman in question – honeymoon cystitis can feel more costly during your romantic holiday. This is especially due to the fact that sex with a bladder infection is known to make matters so much worse.
"Honeymoon cystitis is a very real medical condition that does not just affect women on their honeymoons," explains healthywomen.org. "It occurs whenever vaginal intercourse leads to urinary tract infections (UTI). It is typically caused when the man's penile thrusting irritates the back wall of the bladder (through the front wall of the vagina), massaging organisms into the bladder which, if you don't pee right after sex, can multiply and cause infection".
So - how common is honeymoon cystitis?
You’re understandably reading this and wondering how to avoid cystitis on your honeymoon. Luckily, taking precautions to avoid a bladder catastrophe - or a bladastrophe, if you will – is simple.
Firstly, when heading abroad, it’s important to sort out the mundane necessities beforehand. This is your vital documents, injections if visiting faraway lands and your First Aid kit. As well as the mozzie spray and plasters, pack yourself some cystitis treatment. There are sachets that can alleviate symptoms; however, buying prescription tablets to treat cystitis quickly are also available. With an expiry date likely to extend past your trip if you don’t need to use them, they will also there for future use. Always check your medications beforehand to make sure it is in-date.
Secondly, whilst cystitis in general affects over half of all women, the percentage of honeymoon cystitis cases is smaller. In terms of packing cystitis treatment for your honeymoon, it’s still definitely worth doing just in case. The same goes with thrush treatment - it's always best to over-prepare.
"It is believed that most women will experience cystitis at some point during their lifetime, often on more than one occasion," say the experts at healthexpress.co.uk. "It is an extremely common bladder infection – also known as a urinary tract infection (UTI) - that occurs most frequently due to intestinal bacteria".
Why is cystitis linked to sex?
Honeymoon cystitis occurs for a number of reasons linked to having sex and the actual reason of how it occurs – sorry to say it – are actually a bit gross. So let’s firstly clarify the types of sex that can cause honeymoon cystitis:
- Firstly, some women get the bacteria infection when they first start having sex.
- Secondly, having an, um, 'dry spell' before an abundance of sex; the start of new relationships and your honeymoon are prime examples.
- Thirdly, honeymoon cystitis is linked to the amount of sex in general (yikes).
All three of these reasons basically cover every type of woman, scenario and libido. Holy moly…
What causes honeymoon cystitis?
Time for the aforementioned 'gross bit' about cystitis. It’s caused by bacteria moving around your downstairs area. This often involves E.coli bacteria moving from your bum to your bladder tube (urethra), which is surprisingly easy with the thrusting movements involved in sex.
It’s worth noting that we have tons of bacteria and the vast majority are completely healthy, including E.coli. It’s when bacteria overpopulates or moves to other areas it shouldn’t be that infections can occur.
"E. coli is a type of bacteria that normally live in the intestines of people and animals," explains healthline.com. "However, some types of E. coli, particularly E. coli 0157:H7, can cause intestinal infection".
Why don’t men have this problem?
As always, it appears men get off lightly; no periods, no childbirth, no menopause and now no burning pee infections. Whatever next...
The truth is, cystitis affects men as well however this is a tiny percentage, especially in comparison to all of women wanting to yell all the F’s at their urethra.
Treating and easing symptoms of honeymoon cystitis
Antibiotics are clinically proven to reduce symptoms and cure the infection quickly. If you have experienced cystitis before, symptoms will be fairly easy to spot and therefore treatment can be swiftly used.
Other techniques to reduce symptoms to speed up recovery times include:
- Drinking plenty of water (steer clear of alcohol, caffeine and fizzy drinks. Plain H2O is most effective): this is very important. Water flushes the infection out of your system. If you feel the urge to urinate, always do so.
- Stick to non-acidic and high-protein foods as well as avoiding spicy, hot and fried foods.
- Use a hot water bottle or warm flannel to relieve cramping, or a warm bath to relieve the whole area.
- Wear loose comfortable fitting underwear and avoid manmade fabrics, opting for cotton.
What about cranberry juice though?
Cranberry juice is a weird one. It’s often associated with helping to cure cystitis, however, there is no definitive proof from professionals that this actually works when you already have the infection. In fact, drinking cranberry juice could be linked to drinking lots of water, rather than the cranberry connection.
If you’re prone to the infection, to prevent bouts of cystitis from reoccurring, cranberry juice could be more beneficial.
Falling sick with any sort of illness on your honeymoon is not ideal. This is particular true for infections such as cystitis. Get prepared before you travel with a well-stocked first aid kit that includes cystitis prevention and treatment.
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