Having a quiet wee should be one of lifes simple pleasures. Cystitis shatters this pastoral scene.

With visions of razor blades, hell-fire and multiple midnight journeys back and forth to the toilet.

An inflammation of the bladder, cystitis commonly affects women and girls. The bladder is a sac that collects urine from the kidneys situated due north. Urine travels down little tubes, called ureters, one for each kidney. When the urine reaches a critical volume, it’s time to wee. Urine exits the bladder via the urethra. For women, a relatively short journey to the outside world compared to boys. Think about it. In what could be considered a design flaw (the only one I can think of) this positions the female urethra close to other local landmarks, the vagina and just up the way from the anus. The cause of cystitis is often due to this architectural glitch. An unthinking wipe in the wrong direction can be all it takes to transport trouble from one place to another. G-strings, lycra and pantihose are also prime offenders. Swap them for socks and Cottontails. Scented soap, bubble baths and deodorant sprays will make the situation worse. Desist. Shower as soon as you have finished exercise, and before and after intercourse.

Cranberries have other uses apart from tarting up a Turkey dinner. These red berries are a very effective treatment for cystitis. Usually taken as a diluted juice, one or two glasses a day can ease the symptoms and prevent the recurrence of cystitis. Cranberries, along with other red and blue berries are a rich source of the antioxidants, procyanidins. Research suggests it may be this compound that prevents bacteria from holding on to the bladder wall.

Thrush can be implicated in cystitis, particularly after a course or two of antibiotics. Take some acidophilus and bifidus powder each morning, and splash a little around when you bathe. Alkalising sachets available from the chemist work because they calm the inflamed bladder. A teaspoon of soda bicarbonate in a glass of water will do the same, but remember it calms but does not cure. Copious quantities (three litres) of fresh water must be drunk to flush out the bugs. Ban sugar. You are fighting the good fight against bacteria; bacteria loves sugar, and sugar lowers the immune system. Herbs that are helpful include Buchu, Uva ursi and Echinacea. Best drunk as a tea, these can also be found in herbal cystitis tablets. Boost the immune system with vitamin C, A and zinc.

May you wee in peace.