Recurrent cystitis in non-pregnant women

BMJ Clin Evid. 2008 Jul 17:2008:0801.


Introduction: Cystitis is a bacterial infection of the lower urinary tract which causes pain when passing urine, and causes urgency, haematuria, and suprapubic pain not associated with passing urine. Recurrent cystitis is usually defined as three episodes of urinary tract infection in the previous 12 months, or two episodes in the previous 6 months.

Methods and outcomes: We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical question: Which interventions prevent further recurrence of cystitis in women experiencing at least two infections per year? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to April 2007 (BMJ Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Results: We found 14 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.

Conclusions: In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: continuous antibiotic prophylaxis (trimethoprim, co-trimoxazole, nitrofurantoin, cefaclor, or a quinolone or cephalexin); continuous prophylaxis with methenamine hippurate; cranberry juice and cranberry products; oestrogen (topical) in postmenopausal women; passing urine after intercourse; postcoital antibiotic prophylaxis; single-dose self-administered antibiotic.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Cystitis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Nitrofurantoin / therapeutic use
  • Prospective Studies
  • Trimethoprim / therapeutic use
  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination / therapeutic use
  • Urinary Tract Infections* / drug therapy


  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination
  • Nitrofurantoin
  • Trimethoprim