How do I deal with chronic cystitis?

Dear Annie,

I am 23 years old and every time I have sex I suffer cystitis a couple of days after. I have tried absolutely everything. VIT C, cranberry juice, urinating straight after intercourse, etc. I also went to the doctor who prescribed me trimethoprim 200ml to take every day which also has not helped. Because of our job's, we travel all over the world and I don't get the chance to visit a doctor every time I get it. I therefore resorted to taking over the counter antibiotics (eg. macrodantina 100mg & 50 mg) on a daily basis but after one year of trying different one's, they stop working. It's got to a point now were I am scared to have sex for the pain is unbearable with the cystitis that comes afterwards. Is there any operation that would help me as I think I need something more drastic now? I feel that I can’t cope with this anymore. Any help would be great, thank you so much.

Dear Chronic Cystitis Sufferer,

You are not alone! It's estimated that as many as 20 percent to 30 percent of women will have at least one episode of bladder infection or cystitis, and about 2 percent to 4 percent of these cases will become chronic.

The fact that you have stopped responding to antibiotics suggests that the bacteria are either resistant or that the cause is not bacterial. In fact there are many causes of cystitis, although the major cause is bacterial.

Consider having your boyfriend checked for infections. If he is carrying something, it may simply re-infect you every time. The fact that you both travel extensively complicates this issue, and you may indeed have some weird non-responsive bacteria or protozoan. Another thing to check for is allergy to lubricants or latex or other products used during sex.

I would visit a urinary specialist to determine the cause of the constant inflammation. One possibility is interstitial cystitis or IC (http://www.medicinenet.com/interstitial_cystitis/article.htm), and the treatment options depend on a good diagnosis of the cause.

If it is IC, it is difficult to treat, but read the material at the link above, learn what expect and insist on good treatment and education by your MD. You shouldn't suffer any more.

That’s just my opinion, Annie