Cystitis - A painful condition which can be successfully treated naturally.
Cystitis is the inflammation of the bladder or urethra which carries urine away from the body. The inflammation is most often caused by an infection, irritation or bruising which can be caused in a variety of ways. Infection is usually caused by the micro-organism Escherichia coli (E. coli) which is transferred from the anus to the bladder via the urethra. The physical proximity of the female genitalia makes this transfer more likely than with men. The symptoms are normally a burning or prickling sensation when passing urine, a “dragging” pain in the abdomen, lower back pain, an unpleasant odour to the urine, blood in the urine and a frequent urge to urinate. All of these symptoms combine to make life a pretty awful time for thousands of people.
For many women cystitis can start around the menopause due to a reduction in the production of oestrogen and consequent thinning of the tissue of the urethra and vagina. In addition pregnancy can also be a trigger for cystitis which often occurs when prescription drugs are taken to cure or prevent various bacterial infections in the body. Alternative natural remedies can be very useful under these circumstances as up to 50 to 80% of bacteria are resistant to prescription drugs but have no defence against natural remedies.
Let’s examine some alternative remedies:
Cranberries – This is one of the most successful and popular natural products. The cranberry contains hippuric acid which prevents E. coli bacteria from adhering to the walls of the bladder. Cranberries change the acidity of the urine which prevents the bacteria from multiplying. To gain the most benefit drink about 16floz per day of a non-sweetened version or alternatively take in a supplement form.
If cranberries aren’t palatable to you then drink 2 litres of good quality water with fresh lime juice which will also prevent the bacteria from reforming.
There is some disagreement as to whether the urine should be acid or alkaline to give the body the best chance to fight off the inflammation. In practice it is much easier to adjust the pH to alkaline and at the first sign of a cystitis attack take one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in a glass of water, three times a day, until the attack has passed.
Ayurvedic – Traditionally this form of medicine has a remedy for cystitis which involves 23 different herbs but we’ll look at a more simple Ayurvedic formula which you can reproduce quite simply at home.
Boil 4 tablespoons of coriander seed in 4 cups of water until it reduces by half. Strain through muslin and mix with honey (particularly Manuka honey) to taste. This gives an excellent anti-bacterial and natural antibiotic blend, which should bring about a rapid reduction in inflammation.
Bioflavanoids – These used to be known as vitamin P and work well in conjunction with vitamin C. Natural sources are all citrus fruits, cherries, apricots, broccoli and green peppers. Unexpectedly the best source of bioflavanoids is the white central core of the citrus fruit which is normally discarded as it can have a bitter taste.
Uva ursi – This herb is also known as Bearberry and is a small evergreen shrub which grows on moors and mountains. It contains a chemical called arbutin which acts as an excellent urinary antiseptic. It is more effective when the urine is diluted so drink plenty of water. Clinical trials of 57 women on a double-blind test resulted in all 30 given Uva ursi having no recurrence during the following 12 months. Of the remaining 27 that were given a placebo, five had a re-infection. There are no side effects unless an overdose is taken when you would suffer nausea, vomiting and shortness of breath. If you are taking prescription drugs for other conditions you should discuss taking Uva ursi with your doctor. Do not take if pregnant.
As a preventative when you have overcome the latest bout of cystitis, adjust your diet to give your body the best chance of avoiding another. Add to your daily intake a fruit cocktail to increase your intake of vitamin C. Try a combination of the following fruits: cranberries, strawberries, pink grapefruit and stoned cherries in equal proportions to wash away the taste of a teaspoon of Echinacea tincture in apple juice once a day.
Until now we have discussed primarily the effects of cystitis in women as cystitis is less common in men. However, it can be more serious in men as it could be caused by an underlying bladder or prostate infection, such as prostatitis or an obstruction in the urinary tract, such as a tumour, or an enlarged prostate. Male cystitis is not usually serious if treated quickly, but it can be very painful and if left untreated could lead to a kidney infection. Sexually active homosexual men are more likely to contract cystitis than other males. Treatment is much the same as for females and will probably start with conventional antibiotics or urinary tract medication.
Other – Finally it is essential to avoid chemical based soaps, bubble bath and bath oils which will irritate the inflamed area further. You can, however, add to your bath Bergamot essential oil, which is also excellent for thrush and vaginal itching. To make up a highly effective anti-cystitis blend, add Lavender and Sandalwood essential oil to Bergamot and add to your bath water.
Thrush caused by antibiotics
- Thrush (candida albicans) - affects women, men, babies and animals. How to cure.
Thrush or candida albicans can be very difficult to eradicate. A combination of essential oils, yoghout and antibiotics can cure the problem along with herbs. In addition a colloidal cream or spray will kill the fungus and prevent the return.
© 2013 Peter Geekie