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Cystitis - A painful condition which can be successfully treated naturally.

Updated on September 27, 2016
The burning pain of cystitis
The burning pain of cystitis
The bladder area
The bladder area
.E. coli bacteria x 1000
.E. coli bacteria x 1000
Uva ursi bush
Uva ursi bush

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.

© 2013 Peter Geekie

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    • Peter Geekie profile image
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      Peter Geekie 3 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Lauranimal,

      Thanks for your comments, sorry you suffered cystitis it's miserable but as you found can be quickly cured by nature. Years ago I suffered some digestive disorder and found some cranberry juices that were quite palatable. I'm sure you know but avoid cranberry "drinks" which contain a lot of water and sugar and are worse than useless.

      kind regards Peter

    • Lauranimal profile image

      Lauranimal 3 years ago from So. California

      Another interesting article. Your term "cystitis" must mean the same thing we simply call "bladder infection" here in the US. I had one back in 2005, will never forget it, the symptoms were exactly what you described. And like a miracle, pure unsweetened (ugh, like bile!) cranberry juice thoroughly cured it in a matter of a couple of days. I was amazed, more grateful than ever for what grows in the Earth. Thanks for this one.

    • Peter Geekie profile image
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      Peter Geekie 4 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear teaches12345,

      Thank you for your comments. It is a common complaint which is not taken seriously enough so I am pleased it has been of some help.

      Kind regards Peter

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I know women who suffer from this and it is indeed painful. You have covered this well and have mentioned some great natural remedys for this condition. WEll done.

    • Peter Geekie profile image
      Author

      Peter Geekie 4 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Lipnancy,

      Thanks for your comment. Certain of the more common infections can be difficult to deal with and, as you say, in consequence doctors will acknowledge and use some of the natural remedies.

      Kind regards Peter

    • Peter Geekie profile image
      Author

      Peter Geekie 4 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Diogenes,

      Thank you for your comment. Those that commit acts of unnatural sex should be aware of the risks involved and certainly cystitis is one of the lesser consequences. However you are quite right to point it out.

      Kind regards Peter

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 4 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      Some of the natural approaches that you discussed are actually recommended by doctors.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Women make a huge mistake when they allow vaginal and anal sex to take place at the same time (from the vagina to the anus). This transfers pathogens from the lower colon to the vagina and uthera, etc. So dangerous is this, that it has caused death.

      If you must do this, wash thoroughly between one orfice to the next, and use a fresh condom.

      Sorry to have to write this but it needs mentioning and should have been in your article.

      Bob