A bacterial bladder infection like cystitis can be unpleasant and painful. Cystitis symptoms can include a constant urge to pee, a painful burning sensation when you do pee, pain or pressure in your lower abdomen, you may feel sick or achy (backache is common) and your pee may be darker or smell stronger than usual. And despite peeing more frequently, you may also feel like you’ve only peed a small amount. In some cases, you may also develop a slight temperature or fever.
Foods for bladder health
Diet can be really important for preventing cystitis and urinary tract infections – and no, it’s not all about the cranberries (although they do get a mention).
Our diets are often full of things that can irritate the bladder, cause inflammation or reduce our immune system and allow infection to take hold.
Eat your greens. Spinach, kale and broccoli are good options. They are great for your whole body, packed with vital nutrients and they help to support your immune system, which is vital when it comes to staring down unfriendly bacteria. For much the same reason, make sure you also eat plenty of fresh fruit, aiming for at least 5 portions a day.
Cranberries for cystitis?
What about those cranberries? Ok, so they were always going to make the cut. They can prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder, making it difficult for an infection to take hold, but it’s not that simple. Cranberry juice is very slightly acidic and can sometimes irritate the bladder. Go too sweet and you feed the bacteria at the root of the infection.
One of our favourite cranberry juices is Biotta Mountain Cranberry Juice . Naturally strong and sour in flavour, it contains handpicked wild mountain cranberries that are rich in phytonutrients known to help support bladder health.
Probiotics and bladder bugs
Plain, natural yoghurt is packed full of good bacteria. These probiotics can help keep bad bacteria in check and reduce the chances of an infection taking hold in your bladder. Other food sources of probiotics include tempeh, miso, kefir and sauerkraut.
And don’t forget those prebiotics. A prebiotic supplement, like Molkosan Original, can help to feed the friendly bacteria in your gut. It contains L+ lactic acid which helps to create an environment in which friendly bacteria thrive. Add 1 teaspoonful to a glass of water.
Drink more water
Speaking of which, drink more of the stuff! Drinking more water helps to dilute urine, meaning it is less concentrated and acidic, and therefore less likely to irritate your bladder. Bacteria love nothing more than stagnant urine. By drinking more water you empty your bladder more frequently, leaving bacteria with little time to multiply. Aim for at least 2 litres of still water a day.
Ditch the caffeine
Cut caffeine and alcohol from your diet during an infection, as these irritate the bladder and will worsen symptoms of pain and burning. They may also cause recovery from infection to slow down.
Natural remedies to support bladder health
Not keen on the taste of cranberry juice? A.Vogel’s Cranberry Complex Tablets are a concentrated source of freshly harvested cranberries. Each tablet contains the equivalent of 7.5g of fresh cranberries.
Another bladder-friendly berry
is Uva-ursi or Bearberry. A small woody shrub native to
If symptoms do not improve within 7 days, see your doctor or healthcare practitioner to check that symptoms are not being caused by any underlying medical condition.