cranberries as a natural cure for bladder infection

There are many effective home remedies that can help you get rid of cystitis or support a medical treatment in more severe cases.

Using the right remedies and diet for bladder infection can make a huge difference in curing the problem or suppressing the symptoms, especially in women who suffer from recurrent bladder infections.

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Alternative cystitis treatments

The right diet can help you flush out your bladder as many times as possible.

A bladder infection is most often caused by the same kind of bacteria – E.coli – which generally grow faster than they can be flushed out. 

By drinking a lot of fluid several times a day, you can help your body to get rid of these bacteria.

Here is what you should do:

  • Drink 2-3 litres of liquid (water will do just fine) each day;
  • Go to the bathroom as often as you need to – don't “hold it”;
  • Avoid drinking alcohol, coffee or citrus juices (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit), as they irritate the bladder;
  • Avoid drinking sugary drinks;
  • Drink cranberry juice to prevent future infections (useful for women who have recurrent bladder infections). This will not treat current infections though. However, do not drink cranberry juice if you are taking a blood-thinning medication such as warfarin;
  • Get more Vitamin C: from leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, etc... You can also try oranges and other citruses (but not as juice) and see whether it improves the symptoms rather than aggravates them;
  • You can add baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) to your juices if they are too acidic for you. This may also relieve the pain when peeing by making the urine less acidic.

You should keep on drinking lots of liquids for 2-3 days after the symptoms have gone.

Natural therapy can also be used as a means for the prevention of cystitis, the general idea being that you should maintain a healthy immune system. You should therefore consult your GP to discuss the best options and diet for bladder infection (e.g. antimicrobial herbs such as garlic, parsley, goldenseal or bearberry).

Good Hygiene

Try to urinate as frequently as possible (or as often as you need to) so that the bacteria in your bladder don't multiply.  Drink as much liquid as possible so that you can flush the bacteria out. Try to empty your bladder completely every time you urinate.

When visiting the loo, wipe front to back (and not back to front) so that you avoid bringing more germs to the opening of the urethra.

In order to relieve pain from cystitis, you can use a heat pad or a warm bottle on your tummy. Alternatively, you can sit in a bath or a shallow bucket filled with warm water to ease the pain. Do not add anything else to the bath, unless your doctor suggested it.

Preventative Home Remedies

Remember to drink plenty of liquid every day – not just when you have cystitis. Avoid wearing very tight clothes and wear loose, cotton underwear.

If you have already had cystitis, the following recommendations are important if you want to prevent another infection.

Avoid using douches, soaps or deodorants in your vaginal area, this usually destroys the natural environment and can cause excessive growth of certain bacteria. After a shower, try to pat rather than rub when drying the vaginal and anal areas. Avoid as well washing these areas too roughly as it can irritate the skin.

Urinate after sex in order to get rid of any bacteria that has transferred.

This will help you to “maintain a good pH balance” in your vagina.

Finally, treat any sexually transmitted infection (STI) or vaginal infection as early as possible since they are common causes of cystitis (e.g. thrush or trichomoniasis).

What To Do When Home Remedies Aren't Enough

If the pain lasts more than one or two days, you should see your doctor. You can ask for painkillers while you're being treated; in particular, pyridium (phenazopyridine) is used specifically for pain in the urinary tract, but you will need a prescription for it.

Most antibiotic treatments last only three days for an uncomplicated case of cystitis. Make sure you take the antibiotic treatment exactly as prescribed by your doctor – even if the symptoms have disappeared. 

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