If you have ever contracted a bladder infection, (also known as cystitis), you can probably remember vividly the pain and discomfort associated with it. Hopefully it cleared within a few days. For some women however, life is one cystitis attack after another, requiring constant treatment with prescription medication like antibiotics.
Our female anatomy makes us more likely to develop cystitis. The tube (urethra) leading from the bladder to outside the body is shorter than in males, and our urethral opening is perilously close to the anus. This can give bacteria an easy journey towards the bladder. In chronic cystitis, bacteria have set up a comfortable home in the bladder, and find themselves in ideal conditions for breeding. If you suffer from chronic cystitis, or if you want to help yourself recover faster from a bladder infection, here are some tips:
Create the right conditions: Cystitis bacteria love acidic, sugary urine. By increasing the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet, and reducing sugar and grain based foods like bread and biscuits, you will be making your urine less acidic and sugary, more alkaline.
Flush them out!: Although its probably painful to urinate, drinking at least three litres of pure water a day during an acute attack will help literally flush out the bacteria. By the way, drinking black tea can make the infection worse, as tea can sometimes irritate your bladder. And it makes your urine more acidic.
Bring on the good bugs: Curiously, making sure there are good bacteria in your intestine will help your body resist cystitis. Four dessertspoons of good quality fresh plain yoghourt every day will help keep your intestinal bugs happy. During an acute attack, probiotics tablets may help.
Love those cranberries: Cranberry juice is an old remedy for cystitis, but a good one. A small glass of pure cranberry juice every day is a good practice for chronic cystitis sufferers. A natural therapist can supply you with cranberry extract capsules if you dislike cranberry juice.
Physical barriers: Some women find that emptying their bladder after sex helps flush out bacteria that have made their way into the urethra. Also, when wiping after a bowel motion, make sure you wipe from front to back, to prevent any bacteria being wiped towards your vagina and urethra.
Finally, remember to relax: Feeling stressed will dampen down your immune system, making it more likely you will develop an acute attack of cystitis.
If you are suffering from an acute or chronic bladder infection you may need professional help to get rid of it completely. Your local accredited clinical naturopath can help you find a natural solution. In the meantime, these tips will help you manage your bladder health better.