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If you have symptoms of cystitis, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor can diagnose cystitis based on your symptoms and medical history.

When more information is needed for a diagnosis or treatment plan, your doctor can make a recommendation:

Urinalysis. You collect a small amount of urine in a container for this test. A professional examines the urine for signs of infection, such as bacteria, blood, or pus. If bacteria are detected, you may also have a “urine culture” test to determine what type of bacteria is causing the infection.

Imaging tests. Imaging tests are usually not needed for cystitis. However, in some cases, they may be necessary. For example, an x-ray or ultrasound may help your doctor find other possible causes of inflammation in the bladder, such as a tumor or an anatomical problem.


Cystitis caused by a bacterial infection is usually treated with antibiotics. Treatment for other types of cystitis depends on the cause.

Treatment of bacterial cystitis

Antibiotics are the first line of treatment for cystitis caused by bacteria. It depends on your general health and the bacteria found in your urine which drugs to use and for how long.

First-time infection. Symptoms usually improve markedly within the first few days of taking antibiotics. However, you may need to take antibiotics for three days to a week, depending on the severity of the infection.

Take the pills as prescribed by your doctor or health care provider. Do not stop taking the medications, even if you feel better, to make sure the infection goes away completely.

Repeated infection. If you have recurrent UTIs, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics for a longer period of time. You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in urinary tract disorders (urologist or nephrologist). A specialist can check for urinary problems that are causing the infections. In some cases, taking a single dose of antibiotics after sex may be helpful for repeated infection.

Healthcare-associated infection. Healthcare-associated bladder infections can be difficult to treat because bacteria in hospitals are often more resistant to the common types of antibiotics used to treat bladder infections contracted outside the hospital. Different types of antibiotics and different treatment approaches may be needed.

Women who have gone through menopause may be especially at risk for cystitis. As part of your treatment, your medical provider may prescribe an estrogen-based vaginal cream. However, vaginal estrogens are only recommended if you can use this medication without increasing your risk of other health problems.

Treatment of interstitial cystitis

There is no single treatment that works best for people with interstitial cystitis. The cause of the inflammation is uncertain. To relieve symptoms, you may need medication taken by mouth in pill form. It is also possible to administer the medication directly into the bladder through a catheter. Or you may undergo a procedure called nerve stimulation, where mild electrical impulses are used to relieve pelvic pain and reduce urinary frequency.

Surgery is a last resort and is considered only when other treatments fail. Surgery may not be effective in relieving pain or other symptoms.

Treatment of other non-infectious types of cystitis

Sometimes people are sensitive to chemicals in certain products, such as bubble baths or spermicides. These products can help relieve symptoms and prevent further episodes of cystitis by avoiding them. Drinking plenty of fluids also helps flush out substances that can irritate the bladder.

For cystitis that is caused by a complication of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, treatment focuses on pain control with medication.

Lifestyle and home remedies

Cystitis can be painful. To relieve the discomfort:

Use warm compresses. Warm compresses placed on the lower abdomen may relieve bladder pressure or pain.

Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Avoid coffee, alcohol, caffeinated soft drinks and citrus juices, as well as spicy foods, until the infection clears. These foods can irritate the bladder and worsen the urgent or frequent need to urinate.

For recurrent bladder infections, ask your doctor how you can avoid the possibility of getting another infection.

Preparing for an appointment

If you have common symptoms of cystitis, make an appointment with your primary doctor. After an initial visit, you may see a doctor who specializes in urinary tract disorders (urologist or nephrologist).

What you can do

To prepare for your doctor’s appointment, do the following:

Ask if there is anything you need to do ahead of time, such as collect a urine sample.

Take note of your symptoms, even those that seem unrelated to cystitis.

Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements you take.

If possible, ask a family member or friend to go with you. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided during a doctor’s appointment.

Write down any questions you want to ask your health care provider.

Basic questions to ask for cystitis include the following:

What could be the cause of my symptoms?

Are there other possible causes?

What tests do I need to have?

What treatment approach do you recommend?

If the first treatment does not work, what will we try next?

Am I at risk for complications from this condition?

Could this problem occur again?

What can I do to prevent this from happening again?

Should I see a specialist?

Don’t hesitate to ask other questions that come to mind during the doctor’s appointment.

What to expect from your health care provider

Your health care provider will probably also ask you some questions, such as:

When did you first notice the symptoms?

Have you been treated for a bladder or kidney infection in the past?

How much pain do you have?

How often do you go to the bathroom?

Do you feel better after urinating?

Do you have low back pain?

Have you had a fever?

Have you noticed vaginal discharge or blood in your urine?

Do you have sexual intercourse?

Do you use birth control? What kind?

Could you be pregnant?

Are you being treated for any other illnesses?

Have you ever used a catheter?

What medications, vitamins, or supplements do you take?

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