Known scientifically as cystitis, a bladder infection is a condition characterized by an urgent need to empty the bladder. In people with this condition, frequent and even painful urination is common. A desire to urinate constantly - even when the bladder is empty - is a symptom common in many people as well.
The urine of a person with a bladder infection often has a cloudy appearance and has a strong unpleasant odor. In children, bladder infections often bring about pain in the lower abdomen as well as a burning sensation during urination. Blood in the urine may also occur. Cystitis is generally more an annoying problem that isn't one of any seriousness but if left untreated it can eventually lead to kidney infection.
The ureters, kidneys, urethra, penis and bladder all play distinct roles in helping the body rid itself of material waste (urine). Urethritis (infection of the urethra), acute pyelonephritis (infection of the kidney) and cystitis (infection of the bladder) are conditions that are more common in women than men and many conditions in which the kidneys, urethra or bladder are affected are described as urinary tract infections (UTI). Most UTIs are concentrated in the bladder & urethra.
The reason why most cases of pyelonephritis, urethritis and cystitis occur more frequently in women than men is because of the closeness of the vagina, anus and urethra and because of the length of the urethra in females. This allows bacteria to easily be transmitted from the anus to the bladder by way of the vagina & urethra.
Bladder infections in men typically occur as a result of bacteria ascending through the urethra or from an infected prostate gland.
Many factors including use of a diaphragm, pregnancy, systemic disorders and sexual intercourse can contribute to the development of a bladder infection. A structural abnormality or an obstruction of the urinary tract which restricts urine flow can also increase risk of developing a bladder infection. Bladder cancer can cause bladder infections as well.
The regimen outlined below includes a holistic approach to treating & preventing bladder infections:
Foods such as watermelon, celery and parsley - which are natural cleansers & diuretics - should be consumed in the diet.
Citrus fruits - which produce alkaline urine that promotes bacterial growth - should be avoided.
Drink plenty of liquids, especially pure, unsweetened cranberry juice, which is a very effective cure for bladder infections. Do not consume cranberry juice cocktail, which is loaded with refined sugar. At least one 8 ounce glass of pure water should be drank every hour.
Be sure to empty the bladder every two to three hours and avoid "holding it in", which can worsen the infection.
Take 2 teaspoonfuls of whey power or acidophilus tablets or capsules with each meal.
Supplementing with the following may also be beneficial:
Garlic (2 capsules 3 time daily) - Natural antibiotic and a powerful immune system enhancer. Use the brand Kyolic from Wakunaga, which is an odorless organic garlic supplement.
Vitamin C plus bioflavonoids (4,000 - 5,000 mg daily in divided doses) - Produces an antibacterial effect through acidification of urine. Be sure your brand of Vitamin C contains bioflavonoids, which help increase absorption.
Colloidal silver (take as directed on label) - Natural antibiotic that kills viruses, fungi & bacteria.
Acidophilus (take as directed on label and on an empty stomach. You can also use 1tbsp in 1 quart of warm water as a douche) - Essential to restore "friendly" bacteria.
Calcium (1,500 mg daily) - Reduces irritability in the bladder.
Magnesium (750 mg daily) - Helps control the stress response and is needed to balance calcium. Use chelate form.
Potassium (99 mg daily) - Replaces lost potassium from frequent urination.
Buchu (take as directed on label) - An herb that helps stop the burning sensation upon urination.
* Important notes: It is recommended that you seek the advice of a qualified healthcare practitioner prior to using any alternative therapies to treat cystitis. Any recommended doses are for those over age 18. Always check herb and vitamin use with your child's health care practitioner prior to administering them.