Cystitis

CystitisWhat is Cystitis?

One of the important parts of the body is the bladder. It is the part that stores urine. Whenever you feel the urge to urinate, it actually means that your bladder is starting to get full and that you need to empty it. So as it continues to be filled, the nerves in the bladder would also be making urgent signals to the brain for you to empty it. There are cases however, when the bladder would suffer from certain disorders, one of which is cystitis.

An inflammation of the bladder is known as cystitis. Usually, this is caused by a bacterial infection that makes its way up the urine tube or urethra. This condition is actually more common in women because of the way that the urethra is structured in the female body. You see, the urethra of women is short, making it really close to the vagina. Due to this proximity, the bladder becomes vulnerable to different pathogens like accumulated bacteria coming from the anus. B. coli bacteria is usually the one that is transferred from the anal area to the urethra. There are other types of bacteria that could also bring about cystitis. These are klebsiella, proteus, serratia species, enterobacter.

Interstitial cystitis on the other hand, is a chronic type of cystitis, where various factors that could cause inflammation like food sensitivities and stress could break down the bladder lining’s protective layer.

 

What Causes Cystitis?

  • Bacterial infection. This is one of the most common causes of cystitis. The bacterial infection can travel up the urethra and cause the inflammation.
  • Certain imbalances in the gut. Some examples of which are candida, and lack of lactobacillus acidophilus in the gut.
  • Sexual activities could often cause rectal bacteria to enter the urine tube.
  • Age. Often, changes in the urinary tract brought about by age could cause cystitis. However, this condition is hard to detect in the elderly because even those who are not suffering from cystitis also exhibit similar symptoms like urgency and frequency and sometimes, you would not be able to see the symptoms until it would already be at the advance stage.
  • Obstructions found in the urinary tract. Some common obstructions that could cause are tumours, functional disability, endometriosis, and prostate hyperplasia.
  • Urine retention that is brought about by poor bladder emptying and bladder ischaemia.
  • Senile vaginitis, constipation, diabetes, immunosuppression, and urinary catheter insertion.
  • Bacteria that enters the kidney through the blood is considered as life threatening and must be monitored by a doctor.
  • Antibiotics, hormone imbalances, various contraceptives, and irritation due to underwear could also bring about cystitis.

Diagnosis, Signs and Symptoms of Cystitis

  • Frequent urge to urinate. There are cases when one would feel the urge to empty the bladder every 20 minutes.
  • Low abdominal pain, but you feel a temporary relief every time you get to empty the bladder.
  • When you urinate, a burning or stinging sensation can be felt.
  • Urine with a very strong smell.
  • Experiencing pain whenever you are urinating.
  • Constant discomfort and pressure in the bladder.
  • General fatigue.
  • Mild fever.
  • Vomiting, blood in the urine, and back pain, are symptoms that would indicate a worse condition. Medical attention must be sought for immediately.
  • If you are pregnant, or if the symptoms last for more than 24 hours, seeking a doctor shall be imperative.
  • If the attacks would occur after changing sexual partners, or if attacks would occur in a man or a child, seeking a doctor will be very important.

Remedies, Treatment and Cure for Cystitis

Lifestyle Hints

  • Supplements that strengthen the bladder lining and the immune system should be taken.
  • Women must wipe their bottom after urination from front to back. This would help in preventing bacteria transfer.
  • An ice pack, or a hot-water battle clasped to the lower abdominal area, could offer relief from the discomfort.

Nutrition Tips

  • Take alkaline preparations such as barley grass and other green juices. This could akalinise the urine.
  • Have a diet that is high in vegetables and fruits.
  • Reduce acidity by avoiding alcohol, coffee, tea, high-sugar foods, and animal protein.
  • Avoid foods that could aggravate the condition like spinach, asparagus, raw carrots, beetroot, tomatoes, strawberries, citrus fruits, milk, condiments, ice cream, and other junk food. Chlorinated water must be avoided too.

Everyday, make sure that you drink 2-3 litres of water.

Supplements

  • Vitamin A (5000iu – 8000iu daily). This could help in strengthening the immune system. It is also necessary for repairing epithelial tissues. Vitamin A also helps in healing infections especially caused by flu, colds, kidney, and mucous membrane problems. You could also take the equivalent Beta Carotene, which is Vitamin A’s precursor.
  • Zinc (15mg – 45mg daily). This is important in maintaining a healthy immune function. It is also very much needed for healing.
  • Vitamin C (1500mg daily, non-acid). Aids in producing healthy connective tissues. It also supports the immune system of the body, inhibiting growth of bacteria.
  • Methyl sulphonyl methane, shark cartilage, glucosamine repair (1000mg of each daily). These help in repairing the bladder lining.
  • Aloe vera juice (1 – 2 cups daily, 50ml to maintain health). This helps in reducing the bacteria from the bladder lining.

Herbs that Help

  • Cranberry juice or extract (10g daily). This has oligomeric proanthocyanidins chemicals that actually inhibit E.coli activity. This stops the bacteria from sticking to the bladder lining, thereby helping clear the urinary tract from bacterial presence. However, if you are suffering from kidney stones, you must avoid taking cranberry extracts.
  • Bearberry (250mg – 500mg daily in powdered extract form/1.5g – 4g dried leaves as tea). This is a known antiseptic and astringent. The main component that makes bearberry effective against bacteria is Arbutin. It inhibits the growth of various bacteria such as E. coli, Enterobacter, Citobaaer, Proteus, Klebsiella, and many others. If you are pregnant or nursing, avoid bearberry. This is also not recommended for children under 12 years old.
  • Buchu (1g – 2g dried leaf 3 times daily as tea/0.5ml – 1.5ml liquid extract). This is a mild diuretic, which helps in disinfecting the urinary tract, and also aids urine flow. This can be used in treating infections in the urinary system. Avoid this herb during lactation or pregnancy.
  • Goldenseal (1g – 2g dried root daily). This is an effective antimicrobial agent against staphylococcus sp, E. coli, Klebsiella spp, Proteus spp, and other microbes. I also helps in healing the mucous membranes that line the urinary tract. When pregnant or lactating, avoid using goldenseal.
  • Gotu Kola (30mg of extract daily). This is one of the best herbs for interstitial cystitis. It contains glycosminoglycans that protects the bladder’s lining. It promotes healing of the bladder lining. It also prevents lesions.
  • Olive leaf extract (270mg of this extract daily). This helps in boosting the immune system.
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