Cystitis is a common bladder problem. As many as 1 in 5 of us ladies will experience a flare-up at least once a year and usually the first indication we have cystitis, is the need to visit the bathroom more frequently, which, let’s face it, often hurts and never quite gives relief.
What causes cystitis?
- A urinary tract infection (UTI) is the most common cause of cystitis. When you have a UTI, bacteria in your bladder cause your bladder to swell and become irritated, which leads to symptoms like the urge to pee more frequently.
- E. coli bacteria are often to blame for cystitis. Ordinarily they are not a problem, but if they make it into the urethra, which is the tube that carries pee out of your body, they can end up in your bladder and cause issues.
- Flare-ups often occur after sex, when the bugs are re-introduced into the bladder from the exterior surface of the vagina.
- Chemicals in personal care products, such as intimate washes and soaps, can also cause cystitis.
Symptoms of cystitis
In addition to the constant urge to pee and a painful burning sensation when you do pee, cystitis symptoms can also include pain or pressure in your lower belly, 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.
Lifestyle tips to help combat cystitis
All in all, not a lot to smile about.
Happily though the following relatively simple steps can help to combat cystitis:
Step 1: Increase your fluid intake
We lose about 1.5 litres of water a day just by breathing, sweating and going to the loo. Just to remain in balance you need to drink 1.5 litres daily. But this doesn’t take into account any exercise or activities that make you sweat more. Body type, environmental temperature, food consumption and even stress, can all influence how much water we expel. As a general rule of thumb, 2 litres of water (preferably still water) are recommended as a daily flush-through.
In addition to your H2O, drink unsweetened cranberry juice daily. Sweetened drinks simply increase your sugar intake and will encourage excessive bacterial growth in the bladder. As far as living conditions for bacteria go, they don’t come much better than a warm, dark place with a readily available supply of sugary liquid.
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.
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 Switzerland, Uva-ursi was thought to be a favourite bear snack - hence the catchy alias. A.Vogel’s Uva-ursi Complex can be used to relieve symptoms associated with urinary tract infections, or for additional immune support, try A.Vogel's Uva-ursi and Echinacea.
Step 3: Increase your general health to boost your immunity
What’s the link between cystitis and immune health? Your overall health and immune system can influence how quickly you recover from cystitis and recurrent cystitis can be a sign your immune system is struggling. Make sure your diet is balanced by cooking from scratch and using lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, rich in antioxidants.
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.