Every year there are almost 9 million women who experience the uncomfortable and irritating symptoms of a bladder infection. Although men experience these symptoms also, women are more prone because of their anatomical structure. Most of these women will be treated with a course of antibiotics, a strategy that kills the current infection but leaves the bladder vulnerable to a future bacterial invasion. As a result, most of the women who see a medical doctor about a bladder infection will return at least once over a twelve-month period.
When the bladder is infected by bacteria, its interior walls become inflamed. This inflammation, medically known as cystitis, leads to a frequent and urgent need to urinate, although the urine produced may be scanty, and the bladder may not feel completely empty. There is usually pain or burning upon urination, and there may be cramping in the abdomen or the lower back, and fever.
Although bacteria are the cause of most infections, several other conditions put women at risk for this disorder. Frequent use of antibiotics is one of the most prevalent, since these medications destroy the “good” bacteria needed to fight infections. Anything else that weakens the immune system, such as stress or a poor diet increases the likelihood of an infection. Hormone imbalances can also contribute to an increased susceptibility.
Most bladder infections, when caught at an early stage, will respond well to home care that treats the symptoms, while strengthening the immune system. You should still consult a qualified holistic health practitioner, however, as there is a possibility that the infection can spread to the kidneys. You can speak to your practitioner and ask what natural remedies are available to take that will benefit your situation while supporting your immune system so that your body can heal itself safely. Caution should be taken when using natural remedies if you are taking prescription medications as they may interact. Your practitioner will be able to recommend natural remedies accordingly.
Some symptoms experienced with bladder infections are:
- Pain or burning upon urination
- Frequent need to urinate
- Scanty flow or dribbling
- Cramps in abdomen or lower back
- Nausea or vomiting
Recommendations for a healthy bladder
Make sure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need. Plan well-rounded, wholesome meals, made with basic foods that you prepare yourself. One of the best strategies for fighting a bladder infection is to increase your urine output. Try to drink 6 to 8 ounces of water each hour during the day while you are awake. Cranberry juice (100% unsweetened) has long been a folk remedy for bladder infections, and now science helps us understand why: it appears that cranberry juice keeps bacteria from clinging to the linings of the bladder and the urethra. You can find 100% unsweetened cranberry juice at most health food stores and many supermarkets. Drink 3 – 4 eight ounce glasses each day.
Natural diuretics will help flush out the infection. Eat plenty of watermelon, celery, or parsley, or use them to make fresh juices. You can also add fresh garlic to clear soups or other meals. It’s a potent infection-fighter. If you must take antibiotics, eat a cup of unsweetened live yogurt or another cultured product every day or see your local health food store for probiotics. These foods help return “good” bacteria to your body.
Avoid sugar as it depresses the immune system and encourages the growth of bacteria. Avoid all refined sugars (including those in alcohol) while you’re battling the infection, and restrict them once you’ve recovered. During the course of the infection, stay away from salty, spicy, processed, or refined foods, as well as caffeine. All of these substances will further aggravate the problem. Food allergies can also cause recurring bladder infections.
Many women who are frequent consumers of sodas (both sugary and diet) experience recurring bladder infections. Sodas, whether made from natural or artificial sweeteners, are never a good idea; if you are troubled by bladder infections, you now have another compelling reason to avoid sodas.
As mentioned above, there are natural remedies available that are effective in your battle with bladder infections. These come in the form of herbal extracts and homeopathic remedies, which should be matched with your symptoms. A qualified holistic health practitioner will be able to assist you with this and help you accomplish your goals for better health.