MY STORY

Maria, 52

I would urge anyone who is suffering from the symptoms of cystitis not to stay silent and to visit their doctor to get help.

My name is Maria, I am 52 years old, retired with two children and have been suffering from cystitis for over a decade. I can still clearly remember the first time I was diagnosed; it was shortly after my hysterectomy and the pain in my abdomen was so bad that I thought there must have been a complication or that I had developed an infection from the operation. I went to my doctor straight away as I could not bear the pain or the burning sensation.

The initial diagnosis was the first time I had ever heard of cystitis, and I really did not know very much about the condition. As it was described to me as a urinary tract infection, I thought it must have been something that I had caught using a public bathroom or in an unhygienic hotel. It was not until later that I understood that it was not something I was in completely in control of, although I do find certain preventive measures – such as drinking a lot of water and wearing loose fitting cotton underwear – help to ease my symptoms.

Since then, the condition has returned three or four times a year. Even though the doctor warned me that it would likely be a recurrent condition, I find it very frustrating as each time I convince myself that it will be the last. When it returns I feel depressed and irritable which impacts my family and social life. If the symptoms are minor I try to deal with them myself at home, but when the pain becomes too much I always seek medical assistance as I do not like to self-medicate. Although I do have access to private healthcare, I prefer to visit my local doctor whom I have been seeing for years as I have a good rapport with him, he knows my back story and I never have to wait too long.

I am a very private person and find it difficult to talk to anyone about cystitis – especially my friends – out of embarrassment, but also because I feel that people who do not suffer from the condition do not appreciate just how painful it is and how much it can impact your life. But, I would urge anyone who is suffering from the symptoms of cystitis not to stay silent and to visit their doctor to get help dealing with the pain.