Acute cystitis is the most common form of urinary tract infection, and is mostly observed in women. This study was planned to examine genital hygiene behaviours of women with and without cystitis and to determine nursing interventions in this issue. This was a case–control study. The study population consisted of 270 women who attended Urology and Ear–Nose–Throat (ENT)—polyclinics of a University Hospital between February and May 2012. The case group consisted of 135 women with cystitis between the ages of 15 and 49 who attended the Urology polyclinic. The control group consisted of 135 women who attended the ENT polyclinic and had no reported problem related to the urinary system in the same age group. In our study, we observed a statistically significant difference between mean scores on the genital hygiene behaviour inventory of women in case and control groups (p = 0·007). The women without cystitis displayed better genital hygiene behaviours. The women in case and control groups displayed statistically significant difference when considering economic status and genital hygiene behaviours (p = 0·017). The women in both groups were found to have a negative correlation between body mass index and genital hygiene behaviours. Looking at the genital hygiene behaviours in both groups, the women without cystitis were found to display better genital hygiene behaviours. In women, genital hygiene behaviours are significant in the development of cystitis.