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Treatment - Cystitis

Mild cystitis may clear up on its own within a few days. Sometimes you may need to take antibiotics.

Non-urgent advice: See a GP for advice if:

  • you're not sure if you have cystitis
  • symptoms are severe, such as blood in your pee
  • you're pregnant
  • the symptoms do not start to get better within 3 days
  • you get cystitis often
  • your child has symptoms
  • you're a man

Things you can try yourself

You may not need to see a GP if you're a woman who has had cystitis before, or you've had mild symptoms for less than 3 days.

If you do not think you need to see your GP, ask a pharmacist for advice or try the following:

  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen (check with your pharmacist first if you're taking other medication)
  • drink plenty of water
  • hold a hot water bottle on your tummy or between your thighs
  • avoid having sex

Drinking cranberry juice is often recommended as a way to reduce chances of cystitis. But large studies suggest it doesn't make a big difference.


In some cases, a GP will prescribe antibiotics. This will usually involve taking a tablet or capsule 2 to 4 times a day for 3 days.

Antibiotics should start to take effect quite quickly. Go back to your GP if your symptoms haven't started to improve within a few days.

Antibiotic side effects can include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

If cystitis keeps coming back

If you keep getting cystitis, your GP may give you a prescription to use whenever you get symptoms (stand-by antibiotics).

Your GP can also prescribe a low dose of antibiotics for you to take over several months (continuous antibiotics).

Your GP may refer you for further investigations such as an ultrasound of the urinary tract.

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

Page last reviewed: 22 March 2021
Next review due: 22 March 2024

This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.