Cystitis is a very common but annoying condition, characterised by pain when urinating, feeling generally unwell, with the appearance of fever, frequent passing of small quantities of urine with the sensation of incomplete emptying of the bladder. Cystitis creates a lot of discomfort. For this reason, people are always looking for the most effective therapy or natural remedies to fight and solve the problem in the shortest possible time.
Prevention is the most important therapy to prevent this condition from occurring frequently; for this reason it is useful to investigate what cystitis is, the causes and its symptoms.
Cystitis: causes and symptoms
Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder, most often of bacterial origin. For anatomical reasons, it is a more frequent disorder in women because the female urethra (the channel from which the urine flows) is shorter than that of the male urethra and is closer to the anal orifice, therefore, more exposed to bacteria from faeces.
Although less frequent, cystitis can also affect men, especially those suffering from hypertrophy or inflammation of the prostate.
What are the causes of cystitis?
- long-lasting antibiotic therapies
- poor personal hygiene
- aggressive intimate cleansers
- frequent sexual intercourse
- the use of internal absorbents
Fortunately, the symptoms of cystitis are easily recognisable and this allows you to act quickly to cure it. The main symptom is the burning sensation when passing urine which is almost always followed by cramp-like abdominal pain with the feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder.
This is associated with an increase in the need to urinate but with poor urine output which can be cloudy and smelly. In some cases, blood may also be present in the urine (hemorrhagic cystitis).
Cystitis: natural remedies
When the first symptoms of cystitis appear, it is good to talk to your doctor who will recommend a urine culture test and may prescribe antibiotic therapy. Some natural remedies may also help counteract the symptoms of cystitis:
- drink plenty of water to help the body to flush out the infection
- take warm baths but avoid soap and perfumed products as these may irritate the bladder
- avoid tight clothing
- use cotton linen
- take lactic ferments to rebalance the intestinal flora
- cranberry supplements may be useful because they have anti-inflammatory properties and may be useful-in preventing and countering the first symptoms of cystitis. However, check with your GP first that they are suitable to take with your current medication.
- Avoid alcohol, coffee and fruit juices as these may irritate the bladder
- Take simple over the counter painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen
- Sodium bicarbonate or potassium citrate may help to reduce the acidity of the urine
- do not hold urine for too long
- follow a healthy and balanced diet
Cystitis: what to eat
It is very important to follow a healthy and balanced diet especially in the case of cystitis. Contrary to popular belief, bladder health can also be governed by the intestine, which must function on a regular basis: it is good to eat probiotic foods as they strengthen the functions of the intestine and support the immune system. These foods contain “good” bacteria, and are fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, kimichi and kefir.
In addition, it is recommended to eat foods with an anti-inflammatory effect and foods that will support the immune system, including:
- fruit: in particular blueberries, currants, kiwis and berries for their anti-inflammatory effect. Watermelon and pineapple are recommended for their high potassium-content.
- vegetables: especially the ones rich in water such as salad, cucumbers, chard and celery. It is preferable to consume vegetables with little sodium but rich in potassium such as: cauliflower, fennel, carrots, lettuce, broccoli, spinach.
- garlic and onion for their antimicrobial properties
- Whole grains
- fresh cheeses with low fat and aged
- fresh fish.
- extra virgin olive oil
- complex carbohydrates contained in foods such as bread, brown rice, beans, quinoa and potatoes
Cystitis: foods to avoid
During an episode of cystitis or in the case of frequent relapses, avoid eating acidic foods such as tea, coffee, alcoholic drinks and chocolate. It is also advisable to avoid, processed, fried and spicy foods
Citrus and strawberry juices should be eaten in moderation because they contain ascorbic acid (vitamin C) which can act as a bladder irritant. In addition, sugars and simple carbohydrates should be avoided because they facilitate the growth of bacteria.