Self Help For Cystitis: Lifestyle, Diet and Home Remedies
If you are a chronic cystitis sufferer who gets repeated attacks of this UTI, simple lifestyle and diet changes plus home remedies can keep you symptom free.
In this article I am going to provide you with helpful advice and information to deal with the misery of an attack of Cystitis with effective home remedies and to show you how some simple lifestyle changes including changes to your diet could prevent recurrent bouts of the problem.
Needing to urinate frequently and urgently and having that horrible, burning sensation when you pass urine are trademark symptoms of the condition. However, if you also have pain in the lower back and/or low down in your stomach, you pass any blood or you have a fever or nausea, you need to get checked out as soon as possible by a health care professional as you could have a Kidney infection that needs urgent treatment to prevent damage to these organs.
Chronic Cystitis sufferers get repeated attacks and it is necessary to find the cause and make appropriate changes to manage the condition and remain symptom-free.
What Is Cystitis?
Cystitis is a urinary tract infection (UTI) that causes an inflammation of the bladder. Both men and women can get it, although because of the shorter urethra in women, the bacteria that cause Cystitis have a shorter distance to travel from the opening of the urethra to the bladder, making an infection more likely.
My Action Plan For Preventing and Treating Cystitis
Here are my simple steps to living free from the misery of Cystitis. The information is divided into three sections, Lifestyle, Personal Hygiene and Home Remedies. All three have actionable steps that you can start taking today to say "Goodbye" to Cystitis!
If you lead a busy and stressful life, perhaps with a demanding job or young children at home, your body may not be getting the rest it needs and you may not be making time to eat properly. You may be so busy that you are forgetting to drink adequate water during the day and dehydration concentrates the urine, exacerbating the symptoms. These factors can seriously affect your immune system and lead to many chronic health conditions, including cystitis.
Lifestyle Action Plan
Take action to manage stress. Identify the areas in your life where you can reduce stress or take steps to manage it better. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Try some stress management strategies such as taking up Yoga or even buying some relaxation cds and trying to make some 'me time' in which to listen to them and unwind.
Take action to eat better. The fast food lifestyle is very hard on the bladder! Too much coffee, alcohol, sugary drinks plus a diet high in red meat, spices, fat and dairy, all take their toll. Try to cut down on the types of drinks I mentioned and replace them with water and herbal teas.
Try to eliminate excess sugar and acidic things such as pickled foods from your diet. Eat a rainbow of colored fruits and vegetables and add garlic to your ingredients for savory dishes. Eat whole grains instead of refined flours.
Many cystitis self-help guides suggest drinking cranberry juice but this often has a very high volume of sugar, so I much prefer taking dried cranberry powder capsules. I use the ones from Seven Seas at the first sign that I may be getting an attack and repeat the dosage before I go to bed. This simple method has done more than anything else to keep me symptom free and I never go anywhere without my Cranberry Forte!
In the UK? Get your Cranberry Forte here at a great price too!
Cranberry Juice, Cranberry Tablets and Capsules for UTIs
- Using any product containing fragrance or alcohol for cleansing in the vaginal area can result in irritation of the urethra.
- Bacteria from the anus after a bowel movement can also get passed into the urethra and travel into the bladder when you wipe your bottom.
- If you are in a relationship, having sex can also cause cystitis, either because of bacteria transferred from your partner, using perfumed lubricants, irritation of the urethra or not emptying your bladder after sex.
- Clothing can also cause problems. Wearing nylon or synthetic underwear and tights, wearing tight jeans or trousers can all provide a great breeding ground for the bacteria that cause cystitis. The laundry detergent you use can also aggravate cystitis.
Personal Hygiene Action Plan
Always make sure that you wipe your bottom from front to back after each bowel movement.
Moist toilet tissue that is fragrance and alcohol free is a good thing to use to ensure thorough cleansing and removal of bacteria.
Avoid perfumed bubble baths, vaginal deodorants, fragranced panty liners and sanitary towels.
Make sure that your partner is aware that hygiene is important and that washing before sex will not only help to ensure that you do not suffer a bout of cystitis as a result, it will also help you to relax and enjoy lovemaking more, because you will not be worried about the possibility of cystitis as a consequence!
Avoid using scented lubricants and condoms.
Remember to empty your bladder after having sex as this will flush out bacteria that may have entered, before they can do any damage!
Underwear and Laundry
Change to wearing cotton panties. Choose tights with a cotton or open gusset. Try to wear looser fitting garments.
Check the laundry detergent you are using, make sure it is gentle and non-biological. Give all undergarments an extra rinse after laundering.
Take The Cystitis Prevention Quiz
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If you have suffered from Cystitis, will you be likely to make any of the changes I have outlined in this article?
If you answered YES above ...
Which change are you most likely to make?
Home Remedies For Cystitis
- Take one teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate in a glass of water every three hours during an attack.
- Sit in a warm (not hot) bath to which you have added a handful of sodium bicarbonate and relax for twenty minutes. Peeing into the bathwater also brings relief!
- Hot and cold sitz baths can also bring relief. A sitz bath is where you sit in just enough water to cover the pelvic region.
- Alternating between a few moments in a warm bath and then swapping to a cold bath will increase blood flow and help speed recovery.
- A herbal remedy is to add a few drops of bergamot oil to the bathwater.
- In the same way that the sitz bath remedy will increase blood flow, relief can also be obtained by using a small hot water bottle or heating pad on the lower abdomen. This will relieve pain and the feeling of the urgent need to pass water.
- Drink some cranberry juice (although please see note on sugar content above), or take cranberry powder capsules at the first sign of an attack. The compounds in cranberry juice can actually prevent the bacteria that cause cystitis from sticking to your bladder wall.
A Word Of Warning
All the information and remedies supplied in this article are provided in good faith, but are not intended to replace medical advice from your healthcare provider. As mentioned above, if you have lower back pain, any blood in your urine or a fever, you should consult your doctor right away as you may be at risk of developing a kidney problem and may need antibiotic treatment.
All that being said, careful hygiene, cutting down on acidifying foods and drinking plenty of water every day can go a long way toward avoiding bouts of cystitis.
My own personal number one tip would be the cranberry capsules. I find these invaluable and two capsules taken with a large glass of water at the first sign of a problem followed by another two capsules at bedtime, has invariably stopped cystitis in its tracks for me and I have been symptom-free since I found this remedy!
© 2013 Alison Graham