Preventing cystitis 

It's not always possible to prevent cystitis, but there are some steps you can take that may help.

For example:

  • don't use perfumed bubble bath, soap, or talcum powder around your genitals – use plain, unperfumed varieties
  • have a shower, rather than a bath – this avoids exposing your genitals to the chemicals in your cleaning products for too long
  • always empty your bladder fully when you go to the toilet
  • don't wait to go if you need to urinate – delaying it can place extra stress on your bladder and could make it more vulnerable to infection
  • wear underwear made from cotton rather than synthetic material such as nylon
  • avoid wearing tight jeans and trousers
  • always wipe from the front of your genital area to the back, not back to front, when you go to the toilet
  • some people find certain types of food and drink make their cystitis worse, such as coffee, fruit juice or spicy foods – if there is anything that triggers your cystitis, you may wish to avoid it

Cranberry products

Although cranberry products are not effective at treating cystitis, there has been contrary evidence about their role in preventing recurrent attacks.

However the latest review published in 2013 suggested cranberry juice could not be recommended for preventing urinary tract infections.

Cystitis and sex

Try these tips if your cystitis is triggered by having sex:

  • if you're a woman and you use a diaphragm for contraception, you may wish to change to another method of contraception
  • after having sex, empty your bladder as soon as possible to get rid of unwanted bacteria

People who have catheters need special advice about how to change them without damaging the area. Ask the healthcare professional who is treating you to show you how to do this.

Page last reviewed: 07/11/2013

Next review due: 07/11/2015