Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Cystitis caused by bacterial infection is generally treated with antibiotics. Treatment for noninfectious cystitis depends on the underlying cause.

Treating bacterial cystitis

Antibiotics are the first line of treatment for cystitis caused by bacteria. Which drugs are used and for how long depend on your overall health and the bacteria found in your urine.

  • First-time infection. Symptoms often improve significantly within a day or so of antibiotic treatment. However, you'll likely need to take antibiotics for three days to a week, depending on the severity of your infection. No matter what the length of treatment, take the entire course of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor to ensure that the infection is completely gone.
  • Repeat infection. If you have recurrent UTIs, your doctor may recommend longer antibiotic treatment or refer you to a doctor who specializes in urinary tract disorders (urologist or nephrologist) for an evaluation, to see if urologic abnormalities may be causing the infections. For some women, taking a single dose of an antibiotic after sexual intercourse may be helpful.
  • Hospital-acquired infection. Hospital-acquired bladder infections can be a challenge to treat because bacteria found in hospitals are often resistant to the common types of antibiotics used to treat community-acquired bladder infections. For that reason, different types of antibiotics and different treatment approaches may be needed.

Postmenopausal women may be particularly susceptible to cystitis. As a part of your treatment, your doctor may recommend a vaginal estrogen cream — if you're able to use this medication without increasing your risk of other health problems.

Treating interstitial cystitis

With interstitial cystitis, the cause of inflammation is uncertain, so there's no single treatment that works best for every case. Therapies used to ease the signs and symptoms of interstitial cystitis include:

  • Medications that are taken orally or inserted directly into your bladder
  • Procedures that manipulate your bladder to improve symptoms, such as stretching the bladder with water or gas (bladder distention) or surgery
  • Nerve stimulation, which uses mild electrical pulses to relieve pelvic pain and, in some cases, reduce urinary frequency

Treating other forms of noninfectious cystitis

If you're hypersensitive to certain chemicals in products such as bubble bath or spermicides, avoiding these products may help ease symptoms and help prevent further episodes of cystitis.

Treatment of cystitis that develops as a complication of chemotherapy or radiation therapy focuses on pain management, usually with medications, and hydration to flush out bladder irritants. Most cases of chemotherapy-induced cystitis tend to resolve after the chemotherapy is finished.

Apr. 25, 2012