Cystitis. Highly irritating and highly inconvenient.
Both things we definitely do not when trying to get through life on a day to day basis!
So what causes cystitis? Bacterial cystitis is responsible for about 50% of all cases. Bacteria (normally E.Coli) enters the uretha in one of a variety of different ways. Once in it can stick to the walls of the bladder and occasionally travel up to the Kidneys (tends to be when left untreated!).
Unfortunately, around the time of your period, when using tampons this can be a time women are much more susceptible for infection also. Due to the amount of chemicals in tampons (for those who use them), the chemicals which are in them can unbalance the bacterial lining of the Vagina and furthermore the string at the end of the tampon can act horrendously like a fuse on a stick of dynamite, providing bacteria easy access to the body! This encourages inflammation and bacterial infection to manifest.
Some women experience cystitis more often throughout pregnancy, due to the extra progesterone within the body due to progesterone relaxing the urethra. It is also found more so in women going through the Menopause, again due to hormonal changes. Oestrogen levels naturally decline, causing the thinning of the walls of the urethra, encouraging bacterial infections more pronounced.
Going to your conventional GP, you will be faced with antibiotics as your treatment plan for those suffering with a bacterial infection. These will of course eliminate the infection, but also wipe out the friendly bacteria at the same time, making you more susceptible to reccurent infections and cold sores post antibiotic use. It is extremely important to make sure to be taking a probiotic post antibiotic use to build back up the good bacteria!
So, what natural treatments and precautions could be have in place?
– It is normally seen more commonly in women who have a highly acidic diet. Removing caffeine, alcohol, meat, spicy foods and fruit juices. Keep water intake up high with natural fruits.
– Really important to avoid all processed sugar as this could be a contributing factor to the inflammation. Make sure to read the labels of everything! Pastries, white flour based foods, cakes, biscuits etc etc need to be removed.
– Eating live organic full fat yoghurt (if you can tolerate dairy) is great in order to get more friendly bacteria into the gut!
– Do not buy cranberry juice with sugars and artificial sweeteners! These have been known to contribute to candida (overgrowth in unwanted bacteria) which in turn can cause cystitis. You want what are called ‘tannin’s in the cranberries, so getting this from supplement form may be of benefit.
– Try to eat a more whole food based diet on a daily basis. Include plenty of vegetables, fruits, wholegrain’s, variety of meats and fishes, legumes (chick pea’s, beans and lentils) and reduce processed foods where possible.
– Use snacks such as: hummus and carrot sticks; nut butters and oat cakes, nakd bars, fruit and nuts or perhaps some guacamole!
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