Cystex vs Azo: which is better?
A urinary tract infection is a common infection that can affect any part of the urinary system, including:
- urethra – an infection of the tube which empties urine from the bladder to the outside is called urethritis;
- ureters – the tubes which take urine from each kidney to the bladder are rarely the only site of infection;
- kidneys – an infection of one or both kidneys is called a kidney infection or pyelonephritis;
- bladder – an infection in the bladder is called a bladder infection or cystitis.
Women are more likely to get urinary tract infections than men.
That’s because women have a shorter urethra that’s closer to the rectum. An estimated 50% of women will need treatment for at least one urinary tract infection during their lifetime.
Each year in the US, over 8 million visits to doctors are for UTIs.
The signs and symptoms of a urinary tract infection may include:
- vomiting (most often due to a kidney infection);
- a persistent urge to urinate;
- burning or pain when urinating;
- pelvic pain in women;
- strong-smelling urine;
- pink or brownish urine;
- cloudy urine;
- passing frequent, small amounts of urine.
A urinary tract infection is commonly caused by pathogenic bacteria entering the urinary tract via the urethra.
Common risk factors for UTI may include:
- potty training can lead to UTIs, most especially in girls;
- due to the shorter distance from the opening of the urethra to the bladder, the female anatomy places a woman at greater risk;
- tampons, douching, and feminine deodorants may give harmful bacteria a chance to invade;
- sexually active women are at greater risk than non-sexually active women;
- due to non-sterile or prolonged use, catheters can instigate infection;
- menopause can alter the protective flora in the vagina;
- type 2 diabetes mellitus can increase urine glucose which bacteria feed on;
- uncircumcised men may harbor harmful bacteria under the foreskin;
- kidney stones or an enlarged prostate can allow bacteria in the bladder to establish an infection;
- spermicidal lubricants can trigger genital inflammation;
- diaphragms can promote the growth of coliform bacteria.
Tests and procedures used to diagnose UTIs include:
- urinalysis – it analyzes a sample of your urine;
- rectal exam (to rule out prostatitis in men);
- urine culture;
- pelvic exam (to rule out pelvic infection in women);
- imaging your urinary tract;
- blood tests, especially if a kidney infection is suspected;
- an ultrasound of the kidneys and/or bladder;
- CT scan of the urinary tract.
Commonly prescribed drugs for UTIs include the following:
- Cephalexin (an antibiotic that can treat a number of bacterial infections);
Here is a comparison between Cystex and Azo, two over-the-counter medicines that are indicated for relieving UTIs symptoms:
Cystex Plus Urinary Pain Relief Tablets
It has a combination of:
- sodium salicylate (pain reliever);
- methenamine (antibacterial).
Cystex is used to prevent the urinary tract infection from getting worse as well as for relieving the pain and burning of UTIs.
It is a pain reliever that affects the lower part of your urinary tract. Its active ingredient is phenazopyridine.
This medication is used to treat urinary symptoms, like – increased urination, burning or pain, and an increased urge to urinate.
Note – it is not a cure for UTIs since it will only treat urinary symptoms.
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Possible side effects of Cystex include:
- stomach bleeding;
- changes in behavior.
Possible side effects of Azo include:
- a purple appearance of your skin;
- little or no urinating;
- rapid weight gain;
- upset stomach;
- stomach pain;
- pale or yellowed skin;
- pain in your side or lower back;
- loss of appetite;
For adults and children 12 years and over, the usual recommended dose of Cystex is 2 tablets 3 times per day.
This medication is taken by mouth with a full glass of water.
For children 12 years and older, the usual recommended dose of Azo is 190 to 195 mg orally 3 times per day.
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Warnings & Precautions
Do not use this medicine:
- if you have stomach problems;
- if you are allergic to salicylates;
- if you are on a sodium-restricted diet.
To make sure that this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency;
- liver disease.
Also, do not use this medicine for longer than 2 days unless your healthcare professional has told you to.
Using alcohol may cause interactions to occur.
Avoid alcohol intake while taking these medicines.
There are no known drug interactions.
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Is It Safe During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding?
There isn’t enough information about the safety of using these over-the-counter medicines during breastfeeding and pregnancy.
Talk with your healthcare provider before taking these medicines.
Cystex vs Azo – Which Is Better?
Cystex is the only over-the-counter UTI product that combines an antibacterial agent (methenamine) and a pain relief medication (sodium salicylate).
Azo (phenazopyridine) is a pain reliever that affects the lower part of your urinary tract.
In conclusion, both products relieve the pain associated with a UTI, but Cystex is also an antibacterial agent.
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Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections
There are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing a UTI:
- avoid tight-fitting clothing and pantyhose;
- to reduce the chance of dragging bacteria from the rectal area to the urethra, the genitals should be wiped from front to back after a bowel movement;
- take showers instead of baths;
- avoid smoking cigarettes;
- wear cotton underwear;
- wash the genital area with warm water before having sex;
- avoid fluids and foods that irritate the bladder, like – drinks containing caffeine or alcohol;
- if you have vaginal dryness, use a water-based lubricant during sex;
- don’t douche;
- drink plenty of fluids to encourage frequent urination;
- change feminine pads and tampons often;
- urinate frequently;
- don’t use feminine deodorants on your genital area;
- drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water per day;
- to reduce the risk of a urinary tract infection, post-menopausal women should apply an estrogen-containing vaginal cream;
- to help flush out bacteria that may be introduced during intercourse, urinate immediately before and after sex.