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No time for cystitis? Here are 5 things you need to know about cystitis and how to send it packing …

Cystitis is a nuisance. And it’s a common one: new research reveals that over half (51 per cent) of women in Ireland have experienced the symptoms of cystitis or a UTI. Almost one in five (19 per cent) claim to develop symptoms of cystitis or a UTI at least twice a year. Two in five (40 per cent) have had to take time off work to attend a medical appointment for treatment of cystitis or a UTI. Boots Pharmacist Heather Feeney says: “Infections of the urinary tract are extremely common in Ireland and account for a large proportion of doctor visits per year. UTIs are particularly common amongst women: almost all women will have cystitis at least once during their lifetime.”

1 I think I have cystitis – what should I do?

Boots Ireland in partnership with Velieve now offer a convenient new service to help women receive fast diagnosis and treatment through their pharmacy, without having to visit their GP. The new Cystitis Test and Treat Service at Boots allows the patient to take a urine dip test and have a Medical Doctor review their symptoms via a smartphone app. Customers get an in-app diagnosis within 30 minutes of submitting their results and a prescription if necessary.

“If you think you have a urinary tract infection, your pharmacist is specially trained to identify your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment,” says Heather Feeney. “This service at your local Boots Pharmacy allows you to test for a urinary tract infection, and treat it, without necessarily needing to see your GP. It’s a really easy way for women to do this at a time and place that suits them.”

2 What are the most common symptoms?

“The most common symptoms of a UTI include: a burning or stinging feeling when passing urine; needing to pass urine suddenly or more often than usual; cloudy urine; pain in your lower stomach or back. Mild cases may clear up on their own within a few days, but some may need treatment with antibiotics or other over-the-counter medicines.”

3 How did I get cystitis?

“Cystitis, a type of urinary tract infection (UTI), is an inflammation of the bladder which is usually caused by a bacterial infection. It’s an extremely common condition in women, and although it can be really uncomfortable, it’s usually easy to treat. UTIs are usually caused by bacteria from the skin or faeces entering the urinary tract via the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body. As the urethra is shorter in women, the bacteria are more likely to reach the bladder and kidneys and cause an infection. Men with symptoms of a UTI should always be referred to their GP. Some people can be more susceptible to cystitis, including women going through menopause: the lining of the urethra can shrink and become thinner due to a lack of oestrogen, and the natural balance of vaginal bacteria can change, making the urethra more vulnerable to infection.”

Boots Pharmacist Heather Feeney

4 How can I get rid of cystitis?

“Head to your local Boots Pharmacy for a private consultation with a healthcare professional around your symptoms. Where the service is appropriate and recommended, you can then buy a Velieve UTI Testing Kit, a urine dipstick test that can be carried out easily at home or in a nearby toilet. You just download the free Velieve UTI App from your App Store, to guide you through using the test kit. You will need a smartphone (iOS or Android) with a camera and internet access. Once the urine dipstick test is complete, a Medical Doctor will review the test, and give a prescription for an antibiotic if it’s needed.

You can collect your prescription from a pharmacy of your choice, where you’ll also receive personalised advice on how to prevent recurrence of infection. The Velieve Cystitis Test and Treat Service costs €35 for both the Testing Kit and subsequent review by a Medical Doctor *additional charges may apply.

If you have more serious symptoms, such as blood in your urine, a high temperature or you’ve had cystitis three times in one year, your pharmacist will refer you to your doctor for further investigation.”

5 How can I avoid cystitis?

“We encourage patients to follow some simple guidance: wipe from front to back when using the toilet to prevent bacteria from entering the urethra. Pass urine after having sex to flush out any bacteria that may be near the opening to the urethra. Drink enough fluids to make sure you pass urine regularly throughout the day, especially during hot weather. Avoid using chemical irritants around the vaginal area, such as perfumed soaps or vaginal deodorant. Although there is little evidence to support their use, some women may find cranberry juice or supplements helpful.”

Boots Pharmacy offers a wide range of Pharmacy services. Our pharmacists are trained to offer flu, Pneumococcal and shingles vaccinations, as well as travel vaccinations. If you have any concerns relating to symptoms you’re experiencing, do speak with your Boots Pharmacy team for further advice and for further information on this service visit: www.boots.ie. Please see Boots website for full list of services in our stores www.boots.ie.

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