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What is cystitis?

Cystitis is an infection of the bladder where there is inflammation. It can occur at any age and affects both men and women.  


What are the symptoms?

Even when the sufferer has been to the toilet and emptied their bladder there is a desire to go again.  Urination is very painful with a burning sensation experienced and sometimes there is blood present.  A strong smelling urine is associated with this condition and the urine is often cloudy. Many experience lower abdominal pains of a cramp-like nature and although the infection does not always travel up to the kidneys it can do so in some cases.  Those displaying symptoms should seek medical advice. 


What causes cystitis?

The  bacteria E.coli is responsible for cystitis.  E coli is a bacteria that normally inhabits the bowel and it is more common for females to get cystitis than it is men because of two factors  (1) the urethra - the tube that leads from the bladder to the outside world is much shorter in women than in men, thereby allowing an infection to travel up to the bladder quickly or more effectively. (2) The position of the vagina, urethra and anus are in close proximity to each other, thus enabling the bacteria to travel quickly.   


Other causes include the use of a diaphragm, pregnancy and sexual intercourse; although urinating as soon after sex as possible will help flush out any contaminated urine before it has a chance to multiply.  


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EAT: Celery, parsley and watermelon as these foods that are natural diuretics and cleansers.  

Drink plenty of water, as this helps flush out the urinary tract.   


DON'T EAT: Bacteria grow more rapidly inalkaline urine, so avoid citrus fruits.  Stay away from alcohol1, caffeine, carbonated drinks and refined or processed foods including fats 2. Avoid all foods that contain caffeine such as coffee and chocolate and all other foods that contain additives. 


It has been found that when a group of volunteers took large amount of refined sugar the ability of their white blood cells to destroy bacteria was impaired for at least five hours3.   On those findings it is suggested that white sugar should be avoided as it impairs the immune system.  


There have been studies to suggest food allergies4,5, 6,7 can trigger an onset so be sure to visit a nutritionist. 


The following information does not constitute a prescription or recommended dose— studies have been conducted using the dosages stated and are included for your information only.


The nutrients mentioned here are often recommended by Health -Care practitioners



VITAMIN C8, 9 plus bioflavonoids. Vitamin C has been shown to inhibit the growth of E.coli, which as we know is the common bacterial cause of infection. It is also important in immune function.  Therefore a dose of 4,000 - 5,000 mg per day is recommended if you suffer from cystitis on an ongoing basis. Bioflavonoids are important in immune function and should be taken at a dosage of 1,000 mg daily. 


MULTIVITAMIN 10 with VITAMIN A These multivitamins help the immune system to function properly.  Take 10,000 IU daily, of a multivitamin that includes Vitamin A.  In trials, people with a vitamin deficiency have been reported to have an increased risk of developing many urinary tract infections11. 


BROMELAIN Take as directed on the label. 


COLLOIDAL SILVER Promotes healing is a natural antibiotic and destroys viruses, bacteria and fungi.  Take as directed on label. 


GARLIC natural antibiotic and immune enhancer.  

Take 2 capsules 3 times a day


CRANBERRY is the best herbal remedy for cystitis, but you must drink pure unsweetened juice, use capsules if you cannot find unsweetened juice.  Quality cranberry juice contains an acid that acidifies the urine, not only that, but it prevents the bacteria from adhering to the lining of the bladder.  You should drink one 2 pints of cranberry juice a day. 

If taking capsules, refer to directions on the label. 


BUCHU if you experience a burning sensation when you urinate this herb will ease that symptom.  At the first sign of blood in the urine you must visit a medically qualified doctor. 


MARSHMALLOW ROOT increases the acidity of urine thus inhibiting bacterial growth.  

Drink 2 pints of marshmallow root tea daily.  


GOLDENSEAL if you experience blood in your urine then take this herb.  Do not, however, take for longer than a week at a time and never take this herb if you are pregnant, or have a history of cardiovascular disease, have diabetes, or glaucoma. (If blood is present you must consult a medically qualified practitioner because the presence of blood could be an indication that there is a more serious problem that needs to be addressed).



Some food allergies display the same symptoms as bladder infections, so it is advisable that you go for food allergy testing.  


Hydrotherapy: To east the pain associated with cystitis take hot, shallow baths twice a day.  Add to the water, one cup of vinegar.  Position your knees, if you are a woman, up and apart, so the water can enter the vagina, and relax for 20 minutes.  


If you are on antibiotics it is important that you take two acidophilus tablets / capsules with each meal, to ensure that "friendly" bacteria is not killed off.  


Go to the toilet as often as you feel the need to, making sure that you try and urinate every 2 to three hours while awake. 


Keep the genital and anal areas clean and dry; never sit around in wet clothes including swimming costumes and swimming trunks.


When going to the toilet, women should always wipe from the front to the back.  Try and empty the bladder before and after exercise and before and after sex.  Try and go to the toilet as soon after sex as possible, so you can wash whatever urine is present in your bladder out thus reducing the risk of infection. 


Wear cotton underwear, and use a hypoallergenic washing powder. Often tests for cystitis show no signs of bacteria in the urine, yet the symptoms associated with an infection are still present.  This can be indicative of a reaction to certain chemicals, so avoid the following, tampons, sanitary 'feminine hygiene spays', bubble baths or talcum powder.


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1. MacGregor RR. Alcohol and immune defense. JAMA 1986;256:1474.
2. Barone J, Herbert JR, Reddy MM. Dietary fat and natural-killer-cell activity. Am J Clin Nutr 1989;50:861–67.
3. Sanchez A, Reeser JL, Lau HS, et al. Role of sugars in human neutrophilic phagocytosis. Am J Clin Nutr 1973;26:1180–84.
4. Horesh AJ. Allergy and infection. Proof of infectious etiology. J Asthma Res 1967;4:269–82.
5. Rudolph JA. Allergy as a cause of frequent recurring colds and coughs in children. Dis Chest 1940;6:138.
6. Berman BA. Pseudomononucleosis of allergic origin: a new clinical entity. Ann Allerg 1964;22:403–409.
7. Randolph TG, Hettig RA. The coincidence of allergic disease, unexplained fatigue, and lymphadenopathy; possible diagnostic confusion with infectious mononucleosis. Am J Med Sci 1945;209:306–14.
8. Sirsi M. Antimicrobial action of vitamin C on M. tuberculosis and some other pathogenic organisms. Indian J Med Sci 1952;6:252–55.
9. Axelrod DR. Ascorbic acid and urinary pH. JAMA 1985;254:1310–11.
10. Chandra RK. Effect of vitamin and trace-element supplementation on immune responses and infection in elderly subjects. Lancet 1992;340:1124–27.
11. Hussey GD, Klein M. A randomized, controlled trial of vitamin A in children with severe measles. N Engl J Med 1990;323:160–64.


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