For a start, women are more prone to bladder infections than men, as they have a shorter urethra, and it is closer to the bladder. This makes it easier for bacteria to spread into the urinary tract and cause infection. But it is common for women approaching and during menopause to experience bladder infections like cystitis more frequently.
Menopause and bladder infections
A bladder infection can be caused by a variety of factors but they often occur in the menopause as the lining of the urethra becomes more sensitive. Hormone fluctuations, specifically the drop-off of oestrogen, has an impact here as well. As the level of oestrogen drops, the lining of the urethra thins and becomes more sensitive. Equally, the urethral muscle loses its strength and tone with age, which can result in a weaker bladder and symptoms of urinary incontinence. It also means that small pockets can develop in which bacteria can flourish. pH levels in the urinary tract often change during the menopause, also making you more prone to infection.
Symptoms of a bladder infection
A bladder infection is usually referred to as cystitis; if the infection occurs elsewhere in the urinary tract, such as the urethra or kidneys, it is sometimes referred to as a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).
The symptoms of a bladder infection or UTI can be unpleasant and uncomfortable, including cloudy and smelly urine, a burning or painful sensation when urinating, or a sensation of needing to urinate even when the bladder is empty. In some cases, you may also develop a slight temperature or fever.
What home remedies are there for bladder infections?
Although home remedies may not cure the infection, they can make you feel more comfortable. It is important to give yourself plenty of rest to give your immune system the chance to fight off infection.
Drink plenty of water to help flush out the bacteria from your urinary tract. You can also try drinking cranberry or lemon juice as these have mild antibiotic properties and may help to ease infection. You should try to drink these with only naturally occurring sugar.
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.
It is important to urinate as much as you need; holding on when you need to go to the toilet can cause bacteria to build up in the urinary tract, making you more prone to infection. If you are suffering from an infection, this is particularly important, as this will encourage the bacteria to leave the system.
Natural remedies to support bladder health
Biotta Mountain Cranberry Juice is naturally strong and sour in flavour, and 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. Uva-ursi Complex can be used to relieve symptoms associated with urinary tract infections, or for additional immune support, try Uva-ursi and Echinacea .
Probiotics are also important for bladder health. Optibac Probiotics For Women have been proven to make it through the gut and to your intimate area alive, and once there, can help reduce unfriendly bacteria, creating a happier intimate area, and ultimately a happier you!
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.