1. Drink plenty of waterWhen it hurts to urinate, you might be tempted to avoid drinking so that you can postpone needing to go to the toilet. However, drinking plenty of water is particularly important if you’re suffering from or susceptible to cystitis. Aim to drink around two litres of water each day to flush out the bacteria (usually E. coli) that are lining the bladder wall and causing you so much trouble.
2. Cranberry helps reduce cystitis riskCranberry contains compounds called proanthocyanidins, which are believed to help prevent E. coli from attaching to the bladder wall, and may therefore help to reduce your risk of developing cystitis or experiencing a recurrence after an initial bout. When choosing a Cranberry supplement, look for a high potency extract providing the equivalent of 60 grams of Cranberry per dose, and make sure that it is standardised for its all-important proanthocyanidin content.
3. Adopt healthy bathroom and bedroom habitsThe E. coli bacterium that’s responsible for around 95% of uncomplicated cases of cystitis often enters the urinary tract after you’ve had sexual intercourse or have passed a bowel movement. To help minimise the transfer of the bacteria from the genital region to the urinary tract, make sure that you wipe from front to back when you go to the toilet. It’s also a good idea to get into the habit of washing the area and urinating after sex.
4. Don’t hold onOn a similar note, it's important that you go to the toilet as quickly as possible when you get the urge to do so rather than holding on for later. This helps to continuously flush out any E. coli present in the urine, minimising the time it has available to adhere to the mucous membrane and initiate cystitis.
5. Wear breathable, natural fibresSynthetic fibres like nylon and lycra and tight-fitting clothes like jeans, leggings and yoga pants create a warm, moist environment that’s easy for bacteria to thrive in. Choose underwear made from cool, natural fabrics such as cotton or bamboo instead.
6. Only use gentle products on your genitalsThe mucous membranes of the genital region and urinary tract are highly sensitive, and even more so in the presence of an inflammatory condition like cystitis. Avoid exposing them to harsh chemicals of any kind, including bubble baths, scented wipes and spermicidal gels, all of which may cause further irritation, and potentially exacerbating the issues you’re experiencing.
7. Herbs to relieve cystitis symptomsIf you’re suffering from the pain, urinary urgency and other symptoms of cystitis, there are several herbs that may help to relieve your symptoms. Important options to consider include the Western herb Uva-Ursi, which has traditionally been considered antiseptic and anti-inflammatory to the urinary tract and taken to relieve cystitis pain and Phellodendron, a Chinese herb traditionally regarded as having similar properties
8. Consider probioticsAntibiotic use may disturb the delicate balance of good bacteria that live in your gastrointestinal, vaginal and urinary tracts, sometimes leading to additional problems further down the track, so, consider taking probiotics, as they help to maintain the proper balance of healthy bacteria in these areas.
9. Support your Kidney health tooFinally, from the perspective of TCM, being prone to repeated episodes of cystitis may suggest that your Kidney organ-meridian system isn’t functioning at it’s best, so consider taking Chinese herbs traditionally used to support healthy Kidney function, such as Goji Berry, Cornelian Cherry, Alisma and Poria.
Mr Vitamins recommendsFusion Health, premium quality Australian-made supplements that combine the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine and the science of modern Western herbalism, including:
- Fusion Cranberry: High potency, standardised Cranberry extract to help reduce the risk and recurrence of cystitis
- Fusion Cystitis: A synergistic blend of herbs traditionally used to relieve cystitis symptoms, including pain, inflammation and low-grade fever
- Fusion Kidney Tonic: Chinese herbs traditionally used to balance Kidney and urinary health
- Stothers L. Can J Urol 2002;9(3):1558-62
- Alræk T, et al. Complement Ther Med 2000;8:260-5