Urinary Tract Infections
By Dr Karen Coates
Cystitis or more commonly, bladder infections, can be a recurrent problem for women of all ages. Symptoms can include burning or pelvic pain on urination, bowel irritation and diarrhea in some women.
There are a lot of well-researched therapies for both the prevention and treatment of Cystitis. Some preventative lifestyle factors include:
Avoiding harsh soaps and chemicals in the genital area
Buying non perfumed toilet paper with no dyes or coloured prints
Urinating before and after sexual activity
Wiping front to back after using the toilet
Ensuring water intake is adequate (2-3 litres per day)
Avoiding tight-fitting pants
Minimizing alcohol and caffeine intake
Some natural therapies that have been shown to be of benefit include:
Combinations of Chinese herbs available from our natural therapy practitioners
Cranberry juice or concentrated cranberry tablets taken as soon as symptoms occur
D-mannose; a naturally derived supplement which prevents bacteria from embedding in the bladder wall
Alkalizing agents; Sodium Bicarbonate, found in most kitchen pantries can be used at the first sign of a problem to alkalize the urine and flush any bacteria away. 1/2 a teaspoon in water every 3 to 4 hours. Chemist products such as Ural do the same job.
Sexually active women can experience ‘ honeymoon cystitis’ after a period of increased sexual activity. Post-menopausal women can be susceptible because the bladder opening (urethra) loses hormonal support and hydration. The use of coconut oil applied after showering can help or speak to your doctor about safe hormonal creams.
Sometimes genital skin inflammation can be mistaken for a bladder infection. Thrush and genital herpes may mimic cystitis. If in doubt, have a check-up by your doctor. It is recommended that you have a formal check-up for any persistent symptoms which don’t settle quickly. Other warning signs may be a fever or loin pain, indicating a more serious kidney infection.