I had a miserable time with an infection

Hello Diana, recently I had a miserable time with an infection which made it difficult and painful going to the loo.  It was most unpleasant, why did I get it and how can I avoid it in the future?  Donna Burns. .Lancs

Donna your symptoms sound like Cystitis a common infection of the bladder causing painful burning when you spend a penny and which is more urgent than normal. Often there’s pain low down in your tummy, urine is dark, cloudy and smelly and most women feel generally unwell, achy, sick and tired. Cystitis is usually caused by a bacterial infection, or when the bladder is irritated or damaged. Bacteria that live harmlessly in the bowel or on the skin get into the bladder through the urethra and multiply. Bacterial bladder infections can occur through sexual intercourse or use of a contraceptive diaphragm or Tampax, or by wiping from “back to front” after going to the toilet.

Help yourself by drinking 2-3 litres of fluids each day and avoid alcohol, coffee or citrus juices which can irritate the bladder. Do answer the call of nature when you need to – don’t hold it in! Should you have a high temperature of 38C (100.4F) or above, plus pain in your lower back or sides, it could be a kidney infection caused by bacteria travelling from your bladder into one or both of your kidneys.

Symptoms can come on quickly – so if you are concerned see your GP.