This is an inflammation caused most frequently, by bacterial infection of the bladder. Occasionally, viruses and fungi can be the cause of acute cystitis.
Symptoms of cystitis
- frequent micturition (simply termed frequency)
- pain on micturition (dysuria)
- pain in the pelvic area and in severe cases
- bleeding (haematuria)
Causes of cystitis
Like all infections of the Urinary tract, women are more prone to cystitis than men. There appears to be certain points in a women’s life when these problems are more common - it is seen more commonly in toddlers, during the first year at school (at around 5 or 6 of age), when menstruation starts, after marriage, during pregnancy and after menopause.
Hormonal changes appear to play an important role in predisposing women to cystitis. During pregnancy, these changes cause a relaxation of the perineal muscles and a greater predisposition to infections as bacteria can enter the urethra more easily. As well as this, the pressure exerted by the foetus on the bladder and ureters at the end of pregnancy can cause an obstruction to the flow of urine, producing stagnant pools of urine and a greater tendency for infection.
During menstruation, pregnancy and menopause, cystitis can occur due to hormonal changes, particularly if personal hygiene is found wanting. As well as this, frequent sexual intercourse can predispose one to cystitis. This is not uncommonly seen after a change in sexual habits, giving the condition the term ‘Honeymoon Cystitis’.
In the male, enlargement of the prostate in later life can often give symptoms of frequency and difficulty in micturition. Often there is incomplete emptying of the bladder, termed ‘residual volume’, which creates a stagnant pool of urine similar to that found during pregnancy.
Diabetics who are poorly controlled pass large amounts of glucose in their urine which provides ready nutrition and ‘fuel’ for bacteria present, giving a predisposition to infection. The presence of a ‘foreign’ object, such as stones (natural) or a catheter (man-made) can be important factors in both sexes.
This often follows repeated attacks of acute cystitis, many of which are unresponsive to treatment with antibiotics. It occurs most commonly in men due to an enlarged prostate gland. The presence of renal stones commonly leads to chronic cystitis which in turn predisposes to the formation of more stones and further damage to the kidneys.
Certain cases of chronic and intractable cystitis can be caused by the organism Candida albicans.
Prevention and treatment of cystitis
Drink, drink, drink... (water, that is). Drink cranberry juice, making sure it isn’t loaded with sugar. The cranberry stops bacteria sticking to the bladder wall, so if you get frequent attacks, cranberry may help prevent them.
Avoid sugar... It’s really not good for any part of the urinary tract. A.Vogel wrote, “I have been able to observe the extent of the damage refined sugar has done to the kidneys.“ Unfriendly bacteria feed on sugar too, so cut it out!
Avoid dehydrating drinks such as coffee, tea, fizzy drinks and alcohol. Herbal teas and pure fruit juices are acceptable but must be taken in addition to, rather than instead of, 2 litres of water.
Bladder Formula - Cystoforce, This is a Alfred Vogel own combination of Bearberry (Uva-ursi) and Echinaforce. It disinfects the bladder and prevents UTIs such as cystitis. It can be taken at the first sign of cystitis to shorten or ward off the attack. If infections are a regular occurrence it can be used preventatively.
Stinging Nettle increases urination, which is useful in cases of chronic cystitis (urinary tract infection).
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