An introduction to treating cystitis at home
In some cases cystitis can become quite serious, in which case it might be necessary to visit your doctor so it is important to keep a close eye on your symptoms.
However, nowadays with the overuse of antibiotics and the potential threat of antibiotic resistance looming, it is top of mind for many of us to treat our symptoms at home, if at all possible.
With a range of dietary and lifestyle measures; from keeping sugar at bay to reconsidering your routine in the shower, it may be possible to treat the symptoms of cystitis without the need for conventional treatments.
Look at your liquids
Considering what liquids you are consuming during a bout of cystitis is crucial. Firstly, your water intake needs to be sufficient – this means at least 1.5l of plain, still water daily. The water in teas and coffee doesn’t count – caffeine is an irritant to the bladder so you can risk counteracting the beneficial effects of the water here!
Next, watch your intake of sugar. Sugar feeds the bad bacteria, so this has to be avoided as much as possible – my advice is just stick to water instead of sweet drinks as much as possible.
The exception is cranberry juice – good quality cranberry juice! This means no added refined sugar. Why not try Biotta’s Cranberry Juice, and read our blog as we explain the research behind this!
Not just drinks but diet too
How you eat is also crucial during this time. Yet again, sugar is the one to watch. Try to eat fresh and avoid packaged or processed foods where hidden sugar often lurks!
Avoid inflammatory foods too including processed meat, alcohol and caffeine and instead eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, oily fish and complex carbohydrates (the brown types rather than white).
For more information on diet for cystitis click on this link. Then, for something even more specific to cystitis – why not also try and include some fermented foods...
Hundreds of years ago fermented foods were readily eaten – this was because we didn’t have fridges to preserve our food so this was the alternative. Fermented foods support the growth of good bacteria, which in turn help keep bad bacteria at bay.
This same process also happens in our gut when we ingest these foods. By upping your intake of fermented foods you can help support the delicate balance of bacteria, in and around (they get around) our digestive tract. Supporting the friendly gut flora means we are less likely to fall victim to nasty bacterial infections.
Even better, why not pop to your local health food store and stock up on some capsules of probiotics to up those numbers – a great way to start the day!
Listen to your symptoms
Although self-help tips may often be useful for helping to manage your symptoms effectively from home, it is still important to be vigilant. If your symptoms become more serious, perhaps there is blood in your urine, or you have a sore back, it’s time to go to the doctor. Sometimes antibiotics can’t be avoided, as you don’t want to risk the infection travelling upwards towards your kidneys.
Some practical tips can also help keep symptoms under control. Go to the loo when you need to, stale urine is the perfect environment for bacteria to multiply, and going to the toilet regularly helps flush bacteria away. Concentrated urine is also a risk factor, but with sufficient water intake, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Next, always wipe front to back on the toilet and always to the loo after sex – these steps just help stop bad bacteria getting to places it shouldn’t!
Also, contrary to belief, don’t be too brazen with harsh soaps. Soap can actually upset the balance of our good bacteria, which, as before, we need to help keep the bad guys under control. Wash yourself as normal, and after a shower stick to cotton underwear (avoid synthetic materials) and watch your bottoms aren’t too tight. Tight spaces mean warmth and more moisture which can act as a breeding ground for bad bacteria.
Get enough rest
Infections of any type are often more likely to crop up if we’re feeling run down or tired. You need proper rest in order to rejuvenate and have everything working at its best. This means to help fend off any potential inflections and to recover from existing ones, we need our immune system to be tip top!