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Nitrofurantoin cystitis treatment

Nitrofurantoin cystitis treatment tablets
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Nitrofurantoin is an antibiotic that is used to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs) like cystitis (inflammation of the bladder). It works by killing the bacteria that commonly cause UTIs. It’s usually taken twice a day for three days.

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Cystitis is a relatively common condition that causes inflammation in the bladder. It’s often caused by the bacteria from poo entering the urinary tract.

Women are more likely to get cystitis than men as they have a shorter urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body) and it is closer to the anus. This means the urethra comes into contact with bacteria more easily. You can learn more about cystitis and its causes by reading this article: What is cystitis?

Cystitis doesn’t always need medical treatment but if it doesn’t improve within three days it can be treated with a type of antibiotics called nitrofurantoin. A severe case of cystitis can result in a kidney infection, so if your symptoms do not ease with treatment it’s important to get medical advice.

Symptoms of cystitis

There are a variety of different symptoms that could signal cystitis.

These include:

  • Pain or a stinging sensation when you urinate
  • Needing to urinate often, but only passing small amounts each time
  • Dark, strong-smelling urine
  • Blood in your urine
  • Pain in your belly or lower back
  • Feeling feverish

Don’t forget some of these symptoms could also be the symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), thrush, inflamed urethra or prostatitis (in men).

Do I need a prescription for cystitis treatment?

To obtain Nitrofurantoin to treat cystitis you will need a prescription.

Our LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor clinicians can prescribe you Nitrofurantoin, if clinically suitable. You can then have this prescription delivered to your door or collect it from one of our pharmacies.

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Nitrofurantoin frequently asked questions

  • How long does Nitrofurantoin take to work on a UTI?

    The infection should clear up within 48-72 hours of starting treatment. The course is usually 3 days and the tablet is taken twice a day. If your symptoms do not ease after this time you should seek further medical advice.

    It’s important to remember that taking this course of Nitrofurantoin won’t prevent further UTIs.

  • How can I prevent getting cystitis?

    Sometimes it’s hard to know why the urethra has become infected, but there are certain things you can do which might make you less likely to get cystitis.

    These include:

    • Avoid tight clothing, particularly trousers or jeans
    • Wear loose cotton underwear
    • Always wiping from front after using the loo
    • Going to loo when you feel the urge, trying not to hold on
    • Going to the toilet after sex
    • Avoid using perfumed washes or soaps on your genitals
    • Having showers rather than bathes
    • Avoid being constipated
  • Can I treat cystitis without medication?

    If your cystitis symptoms are mild, have just started or you’ve had cystitis before, you might not need medication. There are some steps you can take at home to try and relieve your symptoms.

    These include:

    • Drinking lots of water can help flush the infection out of your bladder, while it’s not quite clear if this is actually effective, lots of people find it helps them.
    • Taking painkillers you can get from your local pharmacy, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can also help soothe any pain or discomfort cystitis might be giving you.
    • Avoiding having sex until you’re feeling better can stop the condition getting any worse, as sex can increase the risk of the bacterial infection happening in the first place.
  • I keep getting cystitis, what should I do?

    If you find that you keep getting cystitis, or experience the symptoms of it, you should see a doctor face-to-face. They will be able to organise any tests or treatment that might be relevant to managing your condition.

    A doctor may give you a prescription for antibiotics to have on standby, meaning you can go to the pharmacy to get the treatment you need without needing to see a doctor first. Instead of this stand-by prescription, you could be recommended a course of antibiotics for several months, as a way to prevent recurrent cystitis. If your cystitis flares up after having sex, you may be given a prescription of antibiotics to take within 2 hours of having sex. If your cystitis is not related to having sex you may be prescribed low-dose antibiotics to take for 6 months.

    The Online Doctor service is not suitable for managing recurrent cystitis.