Cystitis is also known as urinary tract infection or bladder infection, in which irritation occurs anywhere within the urinary tract, from the urethra all the way to the end of the bladder lining. This condition affects over two million people in the United States each year, most of whom are women. It is most common in women who are sexually active and women who have entered menopause. It’s estimated that half of all women in the UK will have a UTI at least once in their life and one out of every 2,000 healthy men will develop one each year.
Urinary tract infection can be recurring, chronic, or relegated to a single episode which, when properly treated, does not return. UTIs can be painful and uncomfortable, but they usually pass within a few days. Children also get UTIs, although this is less common.
You may find that your UTI symptoms are mild and pass within a few days. However, if you are finding your symptoms very uncomfortable or if they last for more than five days, we recommend you visit a licensed practitioner, especially if you develop a high temperature, if your symptoms suddenly get worse, if you are pregnant or if you have diabetes.
Complications of a UTI aren’t common but can be serious and lead to kidney failure or blood poisoning. These complications usually only affect people with a pre-existing health problem, such as diabetes or a weakened immune system (the body’s natural defence against infection).
The urinary tract is where our bodies make, and get rid of, urine. It’s made up of:
- the kidneys: these are two bean-shaped organs that make urine out of waste materials from the blood
- the ureters: tubes that run from the kidney to the bladder
- the bladder: where urine is stored until we go to the toilet
- the urethra: the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the hole where it leaves the body (in men this is at the tip of the penis, in women it’s between the vagina and the clitoris)
Different Types of UTI:
You can get an infection in the lower (bladder and urethra) or upper (kidney and ureters) part of the urinary tract and health practitioners will often describe them as lower or upper UTIs.
Upper UTIs are potentially more serious than lower UTIs because there is a risk of kidney damage.
An infection of the bladder is called cystitis, and an infection of the urethra is known as urethritis.
Symptoms of cystitis infection include pain or burning sensations during urination, an increased need to urinate more frequently throughout the day and during the night, and pain located in the lower back and/or over the pubic region.
If left untreated, bladder infection can become serious and affect the kidneys. When this happens, additional symptoms can include blood in the urine, chills, fever, nausea, vomiting, back pain, and pain in the loins.
Note: If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, seek prompt medical attention.
The symptoms of an infection in your upper urinary tract (kidney and ureters) are different from symptoms of infection in your lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra).
However, in some cases you may notice the symptons of both, as one can spread to the other.
Symptoms of a lower UTI include:
- cloudy urine
- needing to urinate more often during the day or night, or both
- pain or discomfort when urinating
- an urgent need to go to the toilet (holding in your urine becomes more difficult)
- urine that smells unusually unpleasant
- blood in your urine (haematuria)
- pain in your abdomen (tummy)
- a feeling of tenderness around your pelvis
- back pain
- a general sense of feeling unwell
Symptoms of an upper UTI include:
- a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
- uncontrollable shivering
- nausea (feeling sick)
With an upper UTI you may also notice pain in your side, back or groin. The pain can range from moderate to severe, and it is often worse when you’re urinating.
There is a higher risk of complications with an upper UTI, so see your licensed health practitioner if you notice any of the symptoms.
Although many lower UTIs are mild and get better within a few days, speak to your GP if your symptoms are causing you a lot of pain and discomfort or if they last more than five days.
Increased risk of complications
There are some risk factors that increase your risk of more serious complications from a UTI. These include:
- kidney disease
- type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes
- a weakened immune system caused by treatment such as chemotherapy or a health condition such as HIV
- a foreign body in your urinary tract, such as a kidney stone or catheter (a thin tube inserted by a health professional into the urethra to drain the bladder)
- being pregnant
- being over 65 years old
The primary cause of cystitis is bacteria that are unable to be eliminated from the urinary tract. The problem is not due to bacteria getting in to the urinary tract, but to bacteria not being able to get out.
Menopause can increase the risk of bladder infection developing because, during menopause, levels of the hormone oestrogen decline in the body, making it easier for bacteria to stick to the lining of the urinary tract.
Most urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacteria that live in the digestive system.
If these bacteria get into the urethra (the tube where urine comes out) they can cause infection.
It’s thought that the bacteria can spread to the urethra via the anus. If toilet paper touches your anus and then your genitals when you go to the toilet, the bacteria can then multiply and move through your urinary tract, causing infection of your:
- urethra (urethritis): the urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the hole where it leaves the body (in men this is at the tip of the penis, in women it’s between the vagina and the clitoris)
- bladder (cystitis): the bladder is where urine is stored until we urinate
- ureters (ureteritis): the ureters are tubes that run from the bladder to the kidneys
- kidneys (pyelonephritis): the kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that remove waste materials from your blood and convert it to urine
Women are more likely than men to have a UTI. This is because in women the urethra is closer to the anus than it is in men, which makes it easier for bacteria to get from the anus to the urethra. In women the urethra is also much shorter than it is in men, making it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder.
You are also more likely to develop a UTI if:
- You have a condition that obstructs or blocks your urinary tract, such as kidney stones.
- You have a condition that prevents you from fully emptying your bladder; if urine stays in the bladder for too long it’s easier for bacteria to multiply.
- You have a weakened immune system – due to, for example, chemotherapy or HIV.
- You have a urinary catheter, which is a tube that a doctor or nurse inserts into your bladder to drain away the urine.
If you’re a woman, you are also more likely to get a UTI if:
- You’re sexually active – having sex can irritate the urethra, allowing bacteria to travel through it more easily and into your bladder.
- You use a diaphragm for contraception, as a diaphragm can put pressure on the bladder and prevent it from emptying properly.
- You use condoms that are coated in spermicide, as spermicide can irritate the vagina making it more vulnerable to infection.
- If you are going through the menopause. This can increase the risk of urinary tract infection developing because, during menopause, levels of the hormone oestrogen decline in the body, making it easier for bacteria to stick to the lining of the urinary tract.
If you’re a man, you are also more likely to get a UTI if:
- you have an enlarged prostate gland, as this can put pressure on the bladder and urethra, preventing the bladder from emptying properly
Preventing Bladder Infection
In order to prevent bladder infection, women should do the following:
Avoid urinating after intercourse until necessary. Full urination enables the body to more effectively eliminate bacteria from the urinary tract.
Consider your choice of contraceptive. Women should avoid the use of overly large fitted diaphragms, as these prevent effective voiding of the bladder, especially after intercourse. Contraceptive sponges can cause similar problems. Better birth control options are to wear a cervical cap, or to have your partner wear a condom.
As with all diseases this did not happen overnight. The very first thing you must do is see a licensed health professional. Find a list of practitioners in your local area here
Here are some things you can discuss with your practitioner:
- Eliminate Candida: Click here to find out how
- Do the Hydrogen Peroxide Protocol to strengthen the immune system:
- Drink 3oz of Colloidal Silver, three or four times a day for 60 days www.colloidsforlife.com/ Silver has long been recognised as a powerful natural antibiotic. Colloidal silver is silver that has been removed electronically from its source and then suspended in water. It is used to treat a myriad of diseases.
- Go on a fast to clear your system of toxic waste www.wecarespa.com
Hydrotherapy is the application of water, ice, steam and hot and cold temperatures to maintain and restore health. Treatments include full body immersion, steam baths, saunas, sitz baths, colonic irrigation and the application of hot and/or cold compresses. Hydrotherapy is effective for treating a wide range of conditions and can easily be used in the home as part of a self-care program. Many Naturopathic Physicians, Physical Therapists and Day Spas use Hydrotherapy as part of treatment.
There are several effective at-home hydrotherapy treatments. For bladder infection, we highly recommend contrast sitz baths of alternating hot and cold water to relieve symptoms. Hot and cold compresses can also be applied over the lower back and pelvic region. Please seek the advice of your alternative health care practitioner before undergoing these procedures to make sure they are appropriate for you.
- We recommend regular colonics to remove toxicity from the body. Read more about colonics by clicking here. Find a practitioner here.
- Most of the water that we drink is very acidic and in order to heal our bodies need a more alkaline state. During the programme drink alkalised water, which you can buy from Real Waterwww.drinkrealwater.com/
Healthy eating is of primary importance. Increase your intake of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, and complex whole grains, as well as organic, free-range meats, poultry, and wild-caught fish.
Avoid all commercial, processed, and nonorganic food, as well as alcohol, coffee, sugars, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, food dyes, milk and dairy products, wheat and wheat products, and refined carbohydrates.
Do not eat saturated, trans-, hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated fats and oils. Instead choose from virgin coconut butter/oil, extra virgin olive oil, high lignin flax seed oil, and unrefined hemp seed, walnut, and sunflower oils.
Foods that are rich in the amino acids phenylalanine, tryptophan, tyrosine, and tyramine should also be avoided, as these amino acids can cause irritation in the urinary tract. Such foods include avocados, bananas, chocolate, citrus fruits, figs, and yogurt. Dried fruits, mushrooms, commercial fruit and vegetable juices, leavened bread, pizza, and pasta should only be eaten sparingly, if at all, since they can aggravate symptoms.
Drink plenty of pure, filtered water throughout the day, as well as 16 ounces of either organic, unsweetened blueberry or cranberry juice, both of which are high in a natural sugar known as mannose, which helps to prevent bacteria from sticking to the cells of the urinary tract.
In addition, have yourself screened for potential food allergies and sensitivities and avoid those foods for which you test positive.
For the complete whole foods eating plan we recommend to heal and eliminate all imbalances and disease, connect to the full article: Whole Foods Diet. In many cases, a raw food eating plan can be extremely beneficial. To learn more, read Raw Food Diet.
- Take Vitamin D3 50,000-100,000 International Units a day http:///
- Wholefood supplements are the best way of ensuring your nutritional needs are met. The best we know on the market is Kevin Trudeau’s “KT Daily” product. You can find more details herekevintrudeaudailylifesessentials.com/
- Vitamin C www.livonlabs.com
- Allicin C – 2 capsules three times a day
- Cranberry extract
Vitamin E – a powerful antioxidant and immune booster (Unique E) www.acgrace.com
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
We know that when the body is out of balance, energy doesn’t flow, leading blockages and eventually dis-ease. Here are some things you can do to combat stress and restore balance:
- Go to a Dr Morter BEST (Bio-Energetic Synchronisation Technique) Practitioner.
- Sign up for Energetic Re-Balancing: 2 practitioners to consider are:
- Stephen Lewis, founder of the Aim Program. Find out more by clicking here.
- . Find out more by clicking here.
- Consider using Mary Millers Iching System Products – ichingsystemsinstruments.com
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): Use the incredibly simple but extremely effective Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to help with pain relief Emotional trauma — The second factor, which is also almost universally present in most all autoimmune diseases, is some kind of predisposing traumatic emotional insult that typically occurs before the age of five or six. And unless that specific insult is addressed in some type of effective treatment modality, then the underlying emotional trigger will not be removed, allowing the destructive process to proceed. Therefore, it’s very important to have an effective tool to address these underlying emotional traumas. www.rogercallahan.com/
- Reiki – this can help with healing – Find a practitioner here.
We recommend you consult a licensed practitioner who will be able to tailor treatment especially to you and your needs. But the following ayurvedic remedies are well recognised:
Coriander seeds: For bladder infections you can make a tea with coriander seeds that is very cooling and soothing wherever there is inflammation in the body. In the case of cystitis coriander tea can be used to relieve burning sensations while passing urine. Here’s how to make it: take 1 teaspoonful of coriander seeds, put them in a cup and fill the cup with freshly boiled water, cover and leave for 5 minutes, then strain the seeds off and drink the tea when it’s warm but not hot.
Turmeric: turmeric and milk, sometimes called “golden milk”, is a traditional ayurvedic recipe for calming internal inflammation and bleeding. To make it put half a teaspoon of turmeric powder and one cup of milk in a saucepan and heat it until nearly boiling, add a pinch of saffron and leave to cool until warm, once the milk has cooled to a comfortable drinking temperature you can add a spoonful of honey.
The following ayurvedic supplements are recommended: Chandanasava, Chandanbala Laxadi oil and Chandraprabha Bati.
Yoga breathing (Pranayama) and the yoga position ( Padma Asana) are also recommended.
The ayurvedic herbs Gokshuru (Tribulus terrestris), ashwaganda (Withania- somnifera), shilajeet (Asphaltum), punarnava (Boerhaavia difusa) are also good to take.
An effective remedy can be made by mixing the powders of cardamom—one part, root of paashaanabheda—half part, purified shilajit—half part, and long pepper—half part. Take this preparation in doses of three to four grams with half a glass of water in which rice has been washed, twice a day. Your ayurvedic practitioner may also recommend applying alternate hot and compresses over the bladder or powder of saltpetre (shorakshar) applied over the bladder and covered with a wet cloth.
Another recommended ayurvedic therapy is to boil 20g of corncob hair (hair of maize) in water and drink the infusion. Alternatively, take half a cup of decoction of equal parts of the fruits gokshura (gokhru) and coriander (dhania) three times a day. Paashaanabheda (bergenia ligulata) root powder will also help. Take a teaspoonful. But consult a licensed practitioner before taking any of the remedies.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
We recommend you consult a licensed health practitioner who may suggest acupuncture which can be beneficial. The following TCM remedies are also known for treating the condition: Mu Tong (akebia stem), Che Qian Zi (plantain); Bian Xu (knot grass); Qu Mei (dianthus); Hua Shi (talc); Dai Huang (rhubarb); Zhi Zi (gardenia) and Gan Cao (licorice.)
Take a bath to which one or more of the following essential oils have been added: bergamot, chamomile, eucalyptus, juniper, lavender, and sandalwood. Receiving a massage with these oils can also be effective for reducing pain in the lower back and/or around the pubic region.
Useful homeopathic remedies include Apis, Arsenicum, Belladonna, Berberis, Calcarea, Cantharis, Causticum, Conium, Lycopodium, Mercurius, Nux vomica, Pulsatilla, and Sepia. For best results, consult with a trained homeopath who can help you select the remedies most appropriate for your specific needs.
Useful herbs for treating cystitis include fresh parsley (eaten raw or taken as a tea), buchu, corn silk, couch grass, goldenseal, marshmallow leaf, and uva ursi (also known as bearberry). These can be taken as teas or infusions.
The following juice combinations can help to relieve symptoms: apple and carrot; cranberry; carrot, celery, parsley, and spinach; carrot, beet, and cucumber (for added benefit, add garlic or onion juice); and watermelon juice.
Add half a teaspoon of mannose powder to pure filtered water and drink it every one to two hours to speed recovery.
Apply half a teaspoon of plain, organic yogurt around the opening of the vagina after intercourse.
Cranberries: Cranberries and cranberry juice is recognised at killing the infections that cause urinary tract infections.
Blueberry: Although not as well known as cranberries for treating a UTI, blueberries have also been shown to be an effective remedy for a urinary tract infection. You can eat fresh organic blueberries, make a smoothie from frozen berries or even blend pure blueberry juice with pure cranberry juice to harness the healing power of both of these berries.
Pineapple: Rich in vitamin C and bromelain, pineapple can help you fight off infection while also reducing inflammation. Bromelain has been shown to help resolve urinary tract infections, while vitamin C is a known immunity booster.
Vitamin E-Rich Foods : Foods rich in vitamin E help stimulate your immune system and destroy urinary tract bacteria. This vitamin helps your body repair urinary tract cells damaged by infection. You can obtain vitamin E from food sources such as whole wheat pastas and breads, eggs, olive and vegetable oil, kale, lentils, spinach and watercress.
Calcium- and Magnesium-Rich Foods: Foods rich in calcium and magnesium help reduce the symptoms of urinary tract infections. Calcium helps reduce inflammation of the bladder, kidneys and urethra. Magnesium aids in the absorption of calcium and is necessary for the production of anti-stress hormones that can ease urinary tract pain. Calcium is available in foods such as milk, cheese, broccoli, salmon and spinach. You can obtain magnesium from beef, fish, avocados, brown rice, walnuts, bananas and apples.
Alternative Professional Care:
The following professional care therapies are also effective for treating bladder infection: Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Detoxification Therapy, Energy Medicine, Environmental Medicine, Magnet Therapy, Naturopathic Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, Oxygen Therapy. (See Glossary for descriptions of these Alternative Therapies.)
Urinary Tract Infections and TCM: www.tcmpage.com/hpurinary_infect.html
Urinary Tract Infections and Ayurveda: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2964762/
Herbs that heal urinary tract infection:www.naturalnews.com/035742_herbal_remedies_urinary_tract_infections_bacteria.html
Urinary Tract Infections and Homeopathy: www.truestarhealth.com/Notes/2262002.html
Ayurvedic home remedies for cystitis: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NGX-5a7nZw
Vitamin D fights urinary tract infections:www.naturalnews.com/031194_vitamin_D_urinary_tract_infections.html
Cranberries stop urinary tract infections:www.naturalnews.com/036490_cranberries_urinary_tract_infections.html
Uva Ursi herb reverses urinary tract infection:www.naturalnews.com/027540_uva_ursi_urinary_tract_infections.html
How a simple sugar can stop UTI dead in its tracks:www.naturalnews.com/026759_infection_urinary_tract_sugar.html
The body has its own anti-biotic to fight UTI:www.naturalnews.com/019639_infection_urinary_tract_antibiotic.html
Further Information (links and books)
Permanently Beat Urinary Tract Infections: Proven Step-by-Step Cure for Urinary Tract Infection and Cystitis. All Natural, Lasting UTI Remedies That Will Prevent Recurring Infections, Caroline D. Greene; Saw Palmetto for Men & Women: Herbal Healing for the Prostate, Urinary Tract, Immune System and More, David Winston.
Andrea Butje | Aromahead email@example.com – aromatherapy
Carrie Vitt firstname.lastname@example.org – organic food recipes.
David Spector-NSR/USA email@example.com – meditation, stress
judith hoad firstname.lastname@example.org – herbalist.
Kath May email@example.com – reiki, tai chi.
Lillian Bridges firstname.lastname@example.org – Chinese medicine, living naturally.
Monika email@example.com – aromatherapy.
Rakesh GAC@AyurvedicLifeStyles.com – Ayurvedic Practitioner.