Cystitis myths explained!

Debunking some cystitis myths and offering alternative advice



Qualified Nutritionist (BSc, MSc, RNutr)
@EmmaThornton
Ask Emma


15 February 2018

1. Some vigorous personal hygiene strategies will help

Many people panic and assume that they aren’t clean if cystitis is an ongoing issue, when in fact we know this isn’t necessarily the case. Many issues can contribute to cystitis from diet, to our hormones! But, as a result of this, there’s often an assumption that in order to eradicate the issue, strong soaps and frantic cleaning techniques are necessary. In reality, we know that harsh soaps could in fact cause further irritation as it can upset the balance of the pH in and around the urinary tract. This means it isn’t always the best option and you may even risk making things worse. 

Remember, much like antibiotics, antibacterial soaps could also upset the balance of good bacteria in this intimate area, when in fact; we really need these to help keep the bad bacteria in balance. Plus, we know that people are often sensitive or allergic to many of these products so that’s just another reason to stay clear. 

Alternative advice: Why not opt for some more natural personal hygiene products instead and try out a gentler regime all-round!

 

2. Having a bath will soothe my symptoms

The strange idea that sitting in a bath (and often even worse – urinating in it too) can help with cystitis, just doesn’t add up. With the heat and moisture that some warm bath water provides, this is obviously an environment that bacteria will likely flourish, so my advice – don’t try this one at home. Thinking about it logically, it’s more likely that the warmth of the bath water is soothing which may offer some short-lived relief.

Alternative advice: I say stick to a good old hot water bottle instead to help calm those uncomfortable pangs.

 

3. Antibiotics are always the answer

Although antibiotics can help in some cases of cystitis (especially in more severe cases), they aren’t always the answer and perhaps we shouldn’t always be so quick to rely on them. Firstly, in cases of interstitial cystitis (when bacteria isn’t necessarily at the root of the cause), antibiotics may not be helpful. Secondly, antibiotics could also be upsetting your balance of good bacteria. This is why for many, recurrent infections and repeated doses of antibiotics from the doctor can be a vicious cycle. Read our blog ‘UTIs – when are antibiotics necessary?’ for more information if you think you’re at risk.

Alternative advice: At the very first twinge that might suggest a UTI is looming, start taking our Uvs-ursi and Echinacea complex. Take 15 drops up to five times daily for best effects. Just keep in mind that if you experience any more serious symptoms such as blood in your urine, or back pain, then it is time to go to the doctor.

 

4. Men can’t get cystitis

A common myth is that men can’t get cystitis. Let me just explore this idea in a little more detail! Firstly, this is most definitely a myth as men can indeed get cystitis. It isn’t as likely due to some anatomical differences which means the transfer of bacteria into the wrong areas isn’t so common – but, it’s still possible. 

However, what I also want to flag up is that if a man suspects they may have cystitis, we have to be wary as there may actually be something else going on instead. Symptoms of enlarged prostate can be mistaken for cystitis as they often share some of the same symptoms such as frequent or incomplete urination. 

Alternative advice: If you aren’t quite sure what your symptoms might mean, why not take our Enlarged Prostate Symptom Checker. Dr Jen Tan will be in touch shortly afterwards with your results!

 

5. Drinking will only make me pee more!

It’s a common myth that the more we drink the more we’ll need to urinate. To a certain extent this is true but generally, the more you drink the more your bladder gets used to it! So, with some extra water, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that those toilet trips aren’t so frequent after all. Plus, drinking plenty of liquids is important for fending off cystitis so it needs to be done.

What is problematic is if we become dehydrated. This means your urine becomes more concentrated which will only act as a breeding ground for bacteria and irritate the bladder.

Alternative advice: Keep your urine nicely diluted and ensure you drink plenty of water to keep your urine flushing through. 

Caffeine acts as an irritant to the bladder too so if you fancy a warm drink, why not try our Golden Rod Tea instead of your usual brew. The combination of herbs including solidago and birch has been used traditionally to help support the kidneys and urinary tract.

 

6. Cranberry juice will cure my UTI

There is a lot of confusion out there surrounding cranberry products for UTIs so let’s just set the record straight. Cranberry products can be useful in helping with UTIs but only with certain products, being used at certain times. 

Firstly, high sugar cranberry juices can problematic. The sugar may do more damage than the cranberry element can do good – so best to ensure you go for a no added sugar variety, such as Biotta Wild Mountain Cranberry, or stick to tablet instead. 

Then, when it comes to the Cranberry itself? Well, research has indeed suggested that cranberry may not be suitable for treating cystitis but, what it does suggest, is that cranberry may help prevent infections instead1. This suits us just fine, we have our Uva-ursi for helping to treat the symptoms of cystitis and then when it comes to the maintenance side of things, this is when cranberry steps in.

Alternative advice: If recurrent infections are getting you down, try our Cranberry Complex for helping to prevent those future flare ups. Each tablet contains the equivalent of 7.5g of fresh cranberries (without any of the added sugar), together with some other bladder friendly herbs including nasturtium, horseradish root, golden rod and bergamot.

 

1.Ledda A, Bottari A, Luzzi R, et al. Cranberry supplementation in the prevention of non-severe lower urinary tract infections: a pilot study. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2015, 19(1), p77-80.

Uva-ursi and Echinacea – for cystitis

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Fresh extracts of uva-ursi and echinacea to help maintain bladder health and comfort.
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Biotta Wild Mountain Cranberry Juice

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A combination of the fresh juice of organic cranberries together with birch and agave nectar.
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Our expert's top picks for a healthy bladder and dietary advice

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Key products for bladder health and cystitis management: Uva-ursi and Echinacea Complex, Cranberry …
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Here’s what I recommend

Emma our women's health advisor recommends Uva-ursi complex to help ease symptoms of cystitis and cranberry to maintain bladder health.

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Did you know?

Cystitis is sometimes known as ‘honeymoon cystitis’. Why? Well, during sex, bacteria can spread from the perineum to the urethral opening. The risk of developing cystitis is therefore increased depending on the frequency you have intercourse (sorry honeymooners!).

7 reasons you keep getting cystitis

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