Cystitis is a painful inflammation of the urinary bladder, usually related to an infection. The term urinary tract infection (UTI) may refer to an infection that inflames the bladder, kidneys or the urethra, the tube which carries urine out of the body. Women are much more prone to these infections than men, because they have shorter urethras, and because the opening of this tube is much closer to the anus. Hormones also play a role.
When bacteria (such as Escherichia coli, Enterobacter spp. and Kelbsiella spp.) overwhelm the body’s immune defences and multiply in the area, this causes the development of symptoms such as:
Burning feeling when urinating.
Urgent or frequent need to urinate, but with little urine produced.
Smelly or cloudy urine.
Pain in the pelvis/lower abdomen.
Feeling of pressure in the pelvic region and lower abdomen.
Things that may predispose a woman to the development of a UTI include increased sexual activity, Diabetes Mellitus, Pregnancy, using spermacides or diaphragms, lots of antibiotics or poor hygiene practices (e.g. wiping from the back to the front).
Unsweetened Cranberry juice is recommended for cystitis and UTI as it can help prevent the bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urethra and bladder. Ethical Nutrients Inner Health Plus or Wagner Probiotica P3 pprobiotic supplements also have scientific evidence showing that they may help to prevent this condition. Vitamin C and Zinc are great supplements for urinary tract immunity, especially as Vitamin C helps to make the urine more acidic, discouraging the growth of harmful bacteria. Herbs of Gold Vitamin C 1000 + Zinc and Bioflavonoids is a supplement that contains both of these is good doses, along with bioflavonoids, which help Vitamin C to be absorbed and used in the body. Another option, which is good if you have poor digestion, is to take powdered forms of the supplements, such as Ethical Nutrients Zinc Fix and Melrose Vitamin C plus Bioflavonoids as these require much less work to be taken up and into the body from the intestinal tract.
Herbs such as Uva ursi, Buchu and Nettle are local antiseptics and help to increase urinary flow to wash away infectious organisms. Ethical Nutrients Urinary Tract Support is a herbal product that is known to work particularly well.
As always, a herbal formula like Herbs of Gold Herbiotic Goldenseal Complex or Thompson's Astraforte is great to boost the body’s immune defenses, and Goldenseal has the added benefit of being good at repairing and toning the tissues of the urinary tract.
Updates - 24 October 2014
Drassa, K (2010), ‘MP-03.11: Improvement of pain and sleep problems by urine alkalinization in patients with interstitial cystitis’, Urology, Volume 76, Issue 3, Supplement 1, pp: S26.
Alkalising the urine seems to help improve not only pain, but also sleep disturbance in those with Interstitial Cystitis. In a study which used citrates to change the urine pH from 5.3 to 6.3 (on average), participants experienced significant changes in pain on voiding (urinating), and better sleep and energy levels. Try buying some pH sticks to test your urine, and, if acidic, consider the use of an alkaliser.
Vive Health Naturopaths recommend the following products for Cystitis/UTI:
|2. Ethical Nutrients Urinary Tract Support (90 Tabs)||
(acute infection) up to 5 tab x 4 daily.
(prevention) 4-5 tab daily.
3. Melrose Vitamin C plus Bioflavonoids (125g)
|¼ tsp up to 8-10 times daily.|
|3. Herbs of Gold Vitamin C 1000 + Zinc and Bioflavonoids (60 Tabs, 120 Tabs)||1 tab x 3 daily (with meals).|
|4. Ethical Nutrients Zinc Fix (100g)||
(acute infection) 1/2 tsp x 3 daily after meals.
(prevention) 1/2 tsp daily after a meal.
|5. Wagner Probiotica P3 (30 Caps)||1 cap daily (on rising).|
|6. Ethical Nutrients Inner Health Plus (30 caps) OR||1 cap just before bed (away from food).|
|8. Herbs of Gold Herbiotic Goldenseal Complex (30 Tabs)||1 x 3 daily with meals.|
|8. Thompson's Astraforte (80 Tabs)||1 x 2 daily.|
NOTE: Consideration should always be given to individual requirements. Please consider seeing a qualified practitioner before commencing a new treatment protocol or when combining supplements with pharmaceutical medication.
For more information on UTIs or to ask a Qualified Naturopath a question Click Here.