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Cystitis myths debunked

Do cranberries prevent cystitis? Should you wash your swimsuit after every day at the beach? Doctissimo is here to debunk the myths.

Cystitis myths debunked
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The first and most importance piece of advice is to go to your GP if there is any pain or burning during urination. Only a doctor will be able to diagnose and prescribe treatment for urinary infections.

The facts and myths below are simply rules for maintaining a hygienic lifestyle, which can prevent cystitis from recurring.

Myth 1: Cranberries prevent cystitis

True. Known for decades on the other side of the Atlantic, cranberries are small red berries with a bitter and slightly tangy juice. Americans eat cranberries as a natural remedy for urinary infections either in the form of juice or as tablets. The beneficial properties in cranberries have been officially recognised by the French Food Safety Agency. These types of product were certified in April 2004 as: ‘contributing in reducing the number of certain Escherichia coli bacteria settling on the walls of the urinary tract’.

Myth 2: It's better to drink as little as possible to avoid trips to the toilet

False. You should drink a sufficient amount of water (at least 1.5 litres a day) so that urine is less concentrated. This is an easy way to reduce the risk of infection. This recommendation is particularly important in summer as the body perspires more and urination therefore tends to be less frequent.

Myth 3: Cotton underwear is better than synthetic

True. Synthetic underwear encourages a hot and humid environment. In contrast, cotton lets air pass through more easily and encourages a drier, cooler environment. Go for cotton underwear instead of synthetic, and just changing underwear daily will be sufficient in helping to keep infections at bay.

Myth 4: After peeing, dry off from the back towards the front

False. Actually, when you go to the toilet, it is better to dry off from the front towards the back, to make sure bacteria from the vagina stays away from the urinary tract.

Myth 5: Avoid peeing after sex

False. On the contrary, some women experience many recurrences of cystitis, particularly after sex. Sexual activity can encourage the occurrence of urinary infections by stretching the urethra and putting it into contact with germs present at the vaginal opening, exteriorising the germs in the ordinary ecosystem of the vagina. This causes irritation, allowing the secretion of endorphins, which reduce immunity in this area of the body. For these reasons, it is better to get into the habit of going to the toilet straight after sexual activity, which allows the bacteria present in the urethra to be flushed out.

Myth 6: White wine is not advisable for those suffering from cystitis

True. Some dietary habits should be banished. You should avoid white wine, champagne, and some spicy dishes, which can alter the pH of urine and thus encourage the proliferation of germs.

Myth 7: Cystitis only affects women

False. It is true that women are the most affected by cystitis, but men can also suffer from it. The infection primarily concerns the urethra. This type of infection can equally affect children. In younger children, it can also be a result of malformation of the urinary tract.

Myth 8: Wet trousers encourage infections

True. Wet trousers encourage perspiration and therefore the soaking of bacteria on the skin. In this way, wearing wet trousers can lead to bacteria multiplying and a possible occurrence of cystitis.

Myth 9: Rinse swimming costumes every time you swim

True. It’s preferable to avoid letting your swimming costume simply dry on your body. This practice encourages the soaking of bacteria on the skin and therefore the multiplication of germs. Rinse out costumes in clear water every evening.

Myth 10: Take a shower after every swim

True. For the same reasons you wash your swimming costume each time you go to the beach, take a shower to avoid bacteria stagnating on the skin.

Posted 18.08.2011

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