Cystitis (Urinary Tract Infection)

Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder which affects both women and men, causing discomfort and inconvenience.

Symptoms

A burning sensation when urinating
Frequent need to urinate with little urine passed
A sensation of not being able to hold urine
Urine with a strong, foul odour and sometimes a dark brown/orange or red colour
Lethargy or incontinence in older people
Fever, chills and abdominal pain may also be present in severe cases

Causes

Most cystitis is caused by E. coli, a bacteria commonly found in the intestines. Although cystitis is painful, it is generally cleared up quickly.

Some women may contract the infection from sexual intercourse, which can result in bacteria being pushed into the bladder via the urethra. The bacteria then rapidly reproduce in any stagnant urine left in the bladder.

Urinary tract infections in men may also be a symptom of an underlying disorder and should be managed by a medical practitioner.

Interstitial cystitis is a form of the condition in which the symptoms of infection are present, without any detectable infection – this is a more difficult form of the condition to manage.

Natural Therapies

Cranberry juice may reduce the incidence of bacteria in the urine, which is present in cystitis. It has been shown in vitro to inhibit the adherence of bacteria like E. coli to the wall of the urinary tract
Uva ursi is a herb which has traditionally been indicated to help provide relief from urinary infection
Herbal teas containing buchu, marshmallow or cornsilk provide assist in the relief from the burning pain of cystitis

Lifestyle Factors

Drink plenty of clean water to encourage frequent urination and flushing of the urinary tract.

Some patients find their cystitis is aggravated by foods and drinks such as alcohol, coffee, soft drinks and citrus, tomatoes, vinegar and artificial sweeteners.

Eating a balanced diet containing lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and avoiding excessive dietary protein, will help to balance urinary acidity.

Remedies

Drink 300ml of sugar-free cranberry juice or take Cranberry tablets daily to reduce the frequency of recurrent urinary tract infection.

Always wipe from front to back after going to the toilet, and be sure to urinate as soon as possible after you feel the urge, making sure you empty your bladder completely each time.

Urinate immediately after sexual intercourse to flush out any bacteria in the urethra.

Wear cotton underwear and loose, non-binding clothing that does not trap heat and moisture.

Drink plenty of water and maintain a good balanced diet.

Important Notes

If your symptoms continue for more than 24 hours or if the infection is still present after seven days, consult your healthcare professional.

Consult your healthcare professional immediately if

Painful urination is accompanied by vomiting, fever, chills, bloody urine, or abdominal or back pain
The burning pain on urination is accompanied by vaginal or penile discharge

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