Bladder Infection (Cystitis)

Definition


Bacterial infections of the urinary tract are common. They are collectively known as urinary tract infections (UTIs), and include bladder infections and urethral infections. The urethra is the passage from the bladder to the outside of the body. Most UTIs are due to Escherichia coli, a bacterium that is normally found in the intestines. Because of the shorter length of the urethra, and the ease of contamination by vaginal secretions, women experience fiftyfold more urinary tract infections than men. They often develop bladder infections after sexual intercourse. UTIs in men are infrequent and may signal a more serious problem, such as an enlarged prostate that interferes with urination.

Symptoms of cystitis include frequent burning or painful urination, a small volume of urine, pain over the bladder, and low back pain. Even after urinating, a feeling of a need to still urinate is common. The urine often looks cloudy, and sometimes blood may be seen. In the elderly, UTIs may go unnoticed. Fever may be present if the infection ascends up into the kidneys, a condition known as pyelonephritis.

Pregnancy, diabetes, prostatitis, sexual intercourse, and the use of a diaphragm all can contribute to urinary tract infections.

Diagnosis


A simple urine dipstick test used in doctors' offices can usually identify urinary tract infection. Sometimes the urine will be sent to a laboratory to confirm diagnosis, as well as allow culturing any organisms found for antibiotic sensitivity.

Natural Therapy


  • Take a good multivitamin/multimineral supplement. This is especially important if you are suffering from repeated infections.
  • Colloidal silver can be taken orally. It is a natural antibiotic.
  • Use an antioxidant formula with vitamin C, which can acidify the urine and prevent bacterial growth. Bacteria like an alkaline environment.
  • Cranberry is excellent for UTIs. It acidifies the urine and can prevent bacterial adhesion to the wall of the bladder and urethra. Drink 1 quart of unsweetened cranberry juice per day. Cranberry capsules are also available.
  • Goldenseal is an effective antibiotic. It should not be taken if pregnant, and not more than two weeks at a time due to its effect on the liver.
  • Uva ursi (bearberry) is effective at inhibiting E. coli.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.
  • Avoid citrus fruits that can alkalinize the urine and increase the likelihood of getting infections.
  • An imbalance in vaginal bacteria can make a woman prone to UTIs. Use acidophilus vaginal suppositories that can be found in health food stores or doctors that specialize in natural women's health.
  • Get in the habit of urinating after sex. This helps wash bacteria out of the urethra.
  • Food allergies can mimic UTIs.
  • Wear cotton underwear. Synthetic materials trap heat and moisture, conditions that allow for bacterial growth.
  • Feminine sprays and soaps can irritate the external vaginal area and yield symptoms of an infection.
If symptoms do not dissipate within a couple of days, or you attain a fever or low back pain, see a doctor. You may need to use antibiotics.