What is Cystitis and what causes it?
Cystitis is most often caused by a bacterial infection which has made the bladder or urethra (tube that transports urine from the bladder outside of the body) becomes inflamed. Most cases of cystitis (around 85%) are caused by the bacteria E. coli which has managed to make its way from the opening of the urethra up to the bladder. Only in very rare cases does it get there via the blood stream internally. Women are many times more likely to get cystitis due to the relatively short distance from the urethra opening to the anus, which is the most likely source of E. coli.
Urine flow and beneficial bacteria which live in the urinary tract will usually prevent an infection from taking hold, but if there is insufficient urine flow (dehydration) or obstruction such as the bladder being squashed such as in pregnancy, urine will be 'hanging around' too long giving the bacteria more chance to cause irritation and inflammation.
Symptoms of cystitis or interstitial cystitis can include all or some of the following:
- Burning pain when passing urine
- Frequent need to pass urine
- Pressure in the lower pelvis
- Lower back or abdominal pain
- Fever & chills
- Pain during sexual intercourse
You may also notice that your urine is cloudy or dark in colour and occasionally if severe can contain blood. Urine can also be foul smelling.
How is cystitis treated?
By far the most common treatment method at the moment prescribed by your GP or doctor is antibiotic therapy. This aims to kill off the bacteria causing the infection and is usually a week long course. However, as you may well have heard in the news reports, overuse of antibiotics means that many bacteria are now resistance to these drugs, having found ways to survive. This means that antibiotics for cystitis do not always work. Furthermore, antibiotics are usually broad spectrum and so kill off your healthy beneficial bacteria in the gut, vagina and urinary tract too. This unfortunately can leave you more susceptible to future infections, occasionally leading to recurrent cystitis or interstitial cystitis.
Natural Cystitis Treatment
Cranberry juice is often cited as a natural remedy for warding off cystitis. Indeed it can help any negative bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall. Once an infection has already taken hold the effects of Cranberry Juice are more limited.
D-Mannose is a natural alternative that has proven to be highly effective in the treatment of Cystitis. D-Mannose is a type of natural sugar known as a glyconutrient. Within testing labs this natural sugar consistently attracts bacterias such as E. coli, adhering itself to it and assisting the body to naturally pass the infection through the urine.
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