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Cystitis is an infection of the bladder caused by a bacterial infection, bruising or irritation, and is most common in women, although it can occur in men. Many conditions affecting the urinary system - the kidneys, bladder and urethra - are described as urinary tract infections (UTIs) and almost 85% of these are caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli), which is found normally in the intestines.

Infection occurs when bacteria from the anus or vagina come in contact with the urethra and travel up to the bladder. Women are more prone to this happening because of the close proximity of these areas, and because a woman's urethra is short in length.

Many factors can increase the risk of cystitis developing including sexual intercourse (particularly if it causes bruising), the use of a diaphragm, latex condoms (which can cause irritation in some people), pregnancy, menstruation, the menopause, past infections (which may cause a narrowing of the urethra) and conditions such as diabetes and candida (an overgrowth of yeast in the body).

The symptoms of cystitis are an urgent and continuous desire to urinate, even after the bladder has been emptied, and painful and frequent urination. The pain is often very sharp and burning, and the urine may become cloudy with a strong odour, and blood may be present.

If left untreated cystitis can lead to a kidney infection (acute pyelonephritis), which is more serious so as soon as you suspect the onset of a bladder infection it is important to take action immediately. If symptoms persist or a fever is present seek medical attention.


DIETARY & LIFESTYLE ADVICE:

• Ensure that you keep the genital area clean and dry, and wear cotton underwear.

Empty the bladder before and after exercise and sexual intercourse, and wash the vagina with water after intercourse using the shower hose.

Avoid using personal care products that contain chemicals - this includes soap, shower gel and bubble bath, tampons and feminine hygiene sprays.

• Natural tampons and sanitary towels are available and all the skin care, body care and home care products available at 100% Nature are completely natural - see Products.

• On a daily basis make sure that you empty your bladder regularly, every two to three waking hours.

- However painful it is to urinate it is extremely important to keep drinking, at least one glass of filtered or bottled water every half an hour to flush out the infection - if you don't the condition will get worse. Drink plenty of diluted, sugar-free cranberry juice, and continue to drink in this way until it is no longer painful to urinate.

- Fresh fruit and vegetable juices will also help, particularly if you can include celery, parsley and watermelon which act as natural diuretics and cleansers.  Drinking two litres of filtered or bottled water a day with added fresh lime juice will also help prevent re-infection.

- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, fizzy drinks, coffee, chocolate, refined or processed foods and all sugar until the infection as passed. Food additives have also been found to trigger the symptoms of cystitis in young girls.

- Bicarbonate of soda - at the first sign of cystitis dissolve one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in water and drink - repeat this three times a day until the infection has cleared.


SUPPLEMENTS TO SUPPORT THE URINARY SYSTEM
:

Cranberries may assist in maintaining the health of the urinary tract.

Vitamin C is required by the immune system to help maintain resistance and for natural repair.  

L. acidophilus probiotic helps maintain a healthy balance of flora in the urinary tract and the gastrointestinal tract.

see Women's Health


NATURAL PHARMACY:
 

Herbal Tea - 'Goldengrass Tea' contains Golden Rod, Wild Pansy, Horsetail, Knotgrass and Birch to help eliminate toxins through the kidneys. Dandelion tea acts as a diuretic and liver cleanser and can help to relieve bladder discomfort - see Herbal Tea.

Essential Oils - try adding a few drops of lavender, bergamot or sandalwood (or combine all three) to a warm bath for a soothing and antiseptic effect - see Essential Oils.

Homeopathy - if cystitis comes on very quickly take Aconite 30c; otherwise at the first sign of cystitis take Cantharis 30c for the symptomatic relief of burning pain in the bladder both before and after passing water; if it is only the last few drops of the urine that stings take Apis 30c; if the pain causes upset and weeping, with a spasmodic pain in the bladder after urinating take Pulsatilla 30c; and if the urine is slow in coming, you are straining to urinate and it is red with a sandy sediment take Lycopodium 30c. Take one dose every half an hour or an hour depending on the severity, and then three or four doses a day as required. If your symptoms match two different remedies alternate them - see Homeopathy for all these remedies. See the Homeopathic Kits for sets containing a range of different remedies.

Take one dose three to four times a day for up to three days and see if there has been any improvement. If there has continue with the remedy, if not change the remedy. For severe symptoms take every fifteen minutes, every half an hour or every one to two hours as required.

NB. It is important to touch the pills as little as possible, ideally tipping one into the lid and then directly into the mouth letting it dissolve under the tongue if possible and also to avoid eating and drinking at the same time as taking the remedy.

The stronger the symptoms the stronger the potency required, so if you are unsure, if any of these remedies are not working, or you feel you need a higher potency contact a professional homeopath.

RELEVANT LINKS:

Women's Health

Please contact us for specific advice

NB. This information is in no way intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are unsure as to the suitability of any of the products or recommendations with regard to your condition please consult your doctor. If your doctor does not approve of complementary medicine it may be helpful to find one who does.

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