Honeymoon cystitis (or "honeymoon disease") is cystitis caused by sexual activity. The symptoms are the same as with cystitis triggered by something other than sex: burning sensation when peeing as well as the frequent urge to go to the bathroom.
More severe symptoms (e.g. blood in urine, fever, burning sensation lasting more than a day) may be a sign of acute cystitis, in which case you should consult a doctor and start an antibiotic treatment.
Honeymoon cystitis can occur when a woman has sex for the first time, or when a woman has sex after a long period of time without any sexual activity. During sex, E.coli bacteria which tend to live on the skin around your anus can be transferred to your urethra (for example via your partner's fingers or penis).
Half of all women get cystitis at least once in their lives. However, honeymoon cystitis only causes bladder infection in 4% of cases. The honeymoon disease remains more common among young women in their twenties, although single women in their 50s (also known as Swofties) are increasingly reporting that they suffer from the problem. Swofties rediscovering their sex life commonly get honeymoon cystitis (after not having had sex for a long period of time). Condoms are not known to offer any protection against honeymoon cystitis.
Women are much more at risk of bladder infection, because their urethra is much shorter than the male urethra, which makes it easy for E.coli bacteria to reach the bladder. Men don't commonly get cystitis without suffering from a more serious underlying health problem.
You can prevent bladder infections in many ways. Drinking plenty of water (also recommended when you already have cystitis) and going to the bathroom as often as you need to, will reduce your risk of getting an infection. Peeing right after sex will help to get rid of any bacteria that might have got into the urethra.
You should try to maintain a healthy immune system and avoid drinking too much coffee, soda and fruit juice (e.g. citrus) which can irritate your bladder. You may want to drink cranberry juice on a regular basis, as it appears that it can protect from cystitis by preventing bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder. However, cranberry juice can't actually cure an existing bladder infection once you've got one.
Cystitis can be treated very easily and quickly with a course of antibiotics. If you don't want to take antibiotics right away you may wish to wait 48 hours to see if the infection clears without any medication. You can visit your GP to take a urine test and establish if your cystitis is bacterial or not. Your GP can use the test to determine which antibiotic is best for you.
If you suffer from recurrent bladder infections, you may be given a prescription for a low daily dose of antibiotics taken for several months to prevent future infections. The standard antibiotic treatment for cystitis lasts 3 days. You need to make sure that you complete the course of treatment as prescribed, otherwise the infection might return. If you are suffering from strong side-effects, ask your doctor to recommend an alternative antibiotic treatment.