cranberries as a natural cure for bladder infection

There are many effective home remedies which can help you get rid of cystitis. Even when home remedies don’t suffice on their own they should be used to support an antibiotic treatment.

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

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Alternative cystitis treatments

Your diet plays an important role in curing cystitis. Bladder infections are often caused by E.coli bacteria. Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day helps your body flush out bacteria and fight the infection.

You should:

  • Drink 2-3 litres of fluids (water will do just fine) each day
  • Go to the bathroom as often as you need to – don't hold it in
  • Avoid drinking alcohol, coffee or citrus juices (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit), as they can irritate the bladder
  • Avoid drinking sugary drinks
  • Drink cranberry juice to prevent future infections (this will not heal current infections but may prevent future bouts). However, do not drink cranberry juice if you are taking a blood-thinning medication such as warfarin
  • Get more Vitamin C (for example from leafy green vegetables and tomatoes)

You should keep on drinking lots of fluids for 2-3 days after the symptoms have gone. Natural therapy can also be used to prevent cystitis, the general idea being that you should maintain a healthy immune system. Your GP can advise you on the best options and diet for preventing bladder infection (e.g. antimicrobial herbs such as garlic, parsley, goldenseal or bearberry).

Good Hygiene

Make sure you urinate as frequently necessary to prevent your urine from resting in your bladder for a long period of time (as this allows bacteria to multiply). Drink plenty of fluids to ensure that any bacteria in your bladder get flushed out. Try to empty your bladder completely every time you urinate. When going to the toilet, make sure you wipe front to back (and not back to front) to avoid transferring 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 fluids every day – not only 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 allows certain bacteria to grow. After having a shower, try to pat dry the vaginal and anal areas rather than rubbing them. Avoid rubbing these areas as this can irritate your skin.

It is also helpful to urinate after sex in order to get rid of any bacteria that have been transferred. Finally, treat any sexually transmitted infection (STI) or vaginal infection as early as possible, before they trigger a bout of cystitis (e.g. thrush or trichomoniasis).

What To Do When Home Remedies Aren't Enough

If the pain lasts for more than one or two days, you should see your doctor. You can ask for painkillers while you're being treated. The prescription painkiller pyridium (phenazopyridine) is often used to treat pain in the urinary tract. The standard antibiotic course for an uncomplicated case of cystitis lasts for three days. Make sure you take the antibiotic exactly as prescribed by your doctor – even once the symptoms have disappeared.

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