Remedies for cystitis

Many women experience this annoying disorder, which tends to recur. Let’s see what to do to knock him out.

Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder mostly due to a bacterial infection , and only in some (rare) cases to viral infections , fungal (or yeast) infections or even unknown causes (such as non-interstitial cystitis). infectious).

This is a terribly annoying nuisance. According to estimates, about 40% of women of childbearing age suffer from it , while it does not seem to be as common among men.

It is accompanied by pain located in the pelvic area and sometimes also in the lumbar area, burning when you pee and a feeling of having to urinate often , both during the day and at night. It can cause fever (but this happens only rarely and especially in the elderly) and, in the most serious cases, give the urine a cloudy appearance.

The causes of cystitis

This infection preferentially affects women because , compared to men, their urethra is much shorter and closer to the vagina and anus: this favors the entry into the urinary tract of the microorganisms normally present in those parts of the body. The bacteria thus travel up the urethra to the bladder, where they multiply causing inflammation and pain.

Sometimes, the origin of the bacterial proliferation may be a small (and otherwise harmless) urethral lesion  produced following sexual intercourse, other times, however, it may be the spermicide gel applied to the diaphragm , which by altering the normal vaginal bacterial flora, it reduces the number of “good bacteria” ( lactobacilli ) able to contrast the pathogenic ones.

The binomial cystitis and pregnancy is also very frequent , because pregnancy hinders the emptying of the bladder and therefore the expulsion of the pathogens present in the urine. Equally widespread is the appearance of cystitis (often recurring) after menopause , when the tissues of the vagina and vulva become thinner and are more exposed to bacterial infections.

Finally, there is bladder or urethral calculi which can affect women and men: also in this case, the presence of calculi  in the bladder or urethra obstructs the exit of urine and the bacteria it contains, which remain “trapped ” inside the bladder they tend to multiply quickly.

From antibiotics to lifestyles

When the symptoms of cystitis appear for the first time, it is necessary to immediately contact the doctor who, after having assessed the presence of the infection, will be able to prescribe the most suitable antibiotic therapy. To formulate the diagnosis , it can be based on the typical symptoms  of cystitis and perform a urine test with reactive strips, using urine culture to find out the number and type of bacteria present.

The choice of the active ingredient and the method of administration is in any case up to the doctor. The most commonly used antibiotics are : fluoroquinolones (for three days) or co-trimoxazole (for five days). Alternatively: nitrofurantoin (for seven days) or phosphomycin trometamol in a single administration. It is good practice to combine a cycle of lactic ferments with antibiotics  so as not to alter the intestinal bacterial flora.

In addition to antibiotic therapy, it is always advisable to follow some simple rules which help healing and which can prevent any relapses.

In cases where cystitis recurs frequently, so it is possible to recognize it at the very first symptoms, these measures, if taken immediately, can also resolve the disorder without resorting to antibiotics .

First you need to drink a lot . It is true that, when the pain during the act of peeing is severe, introducing more liquids can cause greater discomfort due to the increase in the amount of urine to be eliminated, but drinking at least 2 liters of water or herbal tea a day serves both dilute the bacteria , counteracting their multiplication, both to favor their elimination and to obtain a “washing” of the urinary tract.

Reduce urine pH. Making urine less acidic also helps eliminate bacteria and soothe symptoms. A teaspoon of baking soda in half a glass of water, two or three times a day can therefore help.

Applying a hot water bottle to your belly can reduce pain and give you a momentary feeling of relief. however, when this is particularly strong, over-the-counter analgesic drugs, the so-called NSAIDs , can be used .

If, despite these measures, symptoms persist for more than two to three days, you should consult your doctor.

Nature, a valid ally

There are a large number of herbal products that appear to help protect against cystitis. However, only for cranberry and bearberry is there real evidence of their effectiveness.

The cranberry has been considered, for a long time, an excellent aid in the prevention of cystitis. Recently its activity has been attributed to some substances contained in the berry (proanthocyanidins).

Scientific studies have shown that proanthocyanidins are able to inhibit the activity of Escherichia coli , the bacterium most often responsible for cystitis: they hinder the adhesion of germs to the mucous membranes lining the bladder, thus helping to free the urinary tract from pathogens.

Widely used as a juice , of which the intake of about 300 ml per day for long periods (a few months) is recommended, it is also available in tablets or sachets of extract titrated in proanticyanidins, whose dosages are more standardizable.

Bearberry is also traditionally used in urinary tract infections. The active ingredient is arbutin , which is metabolized to hydroquinone, which is excreted through the urinary tract, where it exerts its antiseptic action .

7-10 mg per kilo of body weight of titrated dry extract are used, to be taken twice a day, away from meals, but with water and bicarbonate, in order to make the urine less acidic.

Phytotherapy with documented efficacy Cranberry.
Herbal medicines with unproven efficacy Mallow
Grapefruit Seed Extract

The rules of prevention

It is important for those who are often victims of cystitis to remember that the disorder can be prevented by maintaining certain behaviors that counteract contamination with the bacteria responsible for the infection or their multiplication.

Pay close attention to intimate hygiene , especially in the days of the menstrual cycle or after sexual intercourse; however, never use too aggressive detergents , which could irritate the genital area, favoring the entry of pathogens.

When you go to the bathroom, always dry yourself with movements that go from the vagina to the anus (and never the other way around) to avoid transferring any fecal bacteria towards the urethra from which they can then go back up to the bladder, causing cystitis.

Even if you have to go to the bathroom very often, never hold in your pee as this will favor the proliferation of bacteria inside the bladder.

Avoid tight underwear and synthetic material: always prefer cotton or linen ones.

During your period, if you have already suffered from this ailment, it is better to prefer cotton external ones to internal absorbents.

Pay attention to sexual intercourse : if necessary use a condom and carefully cleanse the intimate areas after intercourse.

Fatigue and stress can be responsible for the onset of cystitis as they lower the immune system. Try to rest and possibly supplement your diet with vitamins and minerals.

The defenses are also strengthened at the table

Eating a healthy diet, with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables , is a healthy habit that we should all stick to. Especially those suffering from bacterial cystitis.

This is because it is easier for bacteria to invade our body when the immune system is not at its best.

A proper diet (along with regular exercise ) can help keep our natural defenses strong and, therefore, more effective at fighting infection.

Sugars favor the growth of bacteria , therefore you should try to reduce the amount introduced, remembering that these compounds are often added to foods in which we do not expect to find them (for example canned beans). So let’s learn to read food labels, in order to identify the “hidden” sources of sugars.

A good amount of fluids is also recommended to eliminate any bacteria hiding in the bladder before they have a chance to take root and multiply. For this purpose, the best drinks are water or diluted fruit juices. Instead, alcohol should be avoided , as it increases the acidity of the urine, dehydrates and can irritate the bladder mucosa. And cut down on tea and coffee .

Cranberry juice, on the other hand, is an excellent drink, given its inhibitory properties against bacteria, but be careful to avoid preparations rich in sugars.

Joycelyn Elders is the author and creator of EmpowerEssence, a health and wellness blog. Elders is a respected public health advocate and pediatrician dedicated to promoting general health and well-being.

The blog covers a wide range of topics related to health and wellness, with articles organized into several categories.

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