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Cystitis (Bladder and Urinary Tract Infection)

Symptoms of Cystitis

Symptoms of cystitis include pain in the lower abdomen and back; frequent, urgent, and painful urination. Urine often has a strong, unpleasant odor and may appear cloudy; a desire to urinate even after the bladder has been emptied.

Children with this condition may experience a painful burning sensation when urinating.

Causes of Cystitis

Cystitis is an infection of the urinary bladder. It is the most frequent bacterial infection in women. The cause is generally bacteria which have ascended up from the urinary opening, but, less frequently, from infected urine sent down from the kidneys.

The usual cause is ascended bacteria, and cystitis most often occurs in females. The urinary outlet of the urethra is close to the vagina.

Frequency, urgency, and burning urine are obvious symptoms of cystitis, but a home test can be also be done: Purchase “Dipstick” at a pharmacy and follow the directions. A positive nitrate test will reveal the presence of a large number of white blood cells, indicating an infection in the urinary tract.

Women who frequently have bladder infections often have enlarged bladders from having tried to retain their urine. In order to maintain good urinary tract health, it is important to drink water and urinate frequently.

In older men, the cause of the bladder problem might be kidney stones.

Blood in the urine could indicate a more serious problem. Consult a physician. (see “Haematuria”).

Bladder infection in men may signal prostate trouble.

Cyclamate (an artificial sweetener found in synthetic sugar) causes bladder tumors.


Suggested Treatment for Cystitis

  • Increase the fluid intake, especially water. Drink a half pint every 20 minutes for 3 hours, then one cup every hour. This is important.
  • Also drink cranberry juice. When you have this problem, citrus juice is not as good, since it tends to make the urine more alkaline, encouraging bacterial growth.
  • Eat a nourishing diet; avoid the wrong foods. See “Nephritis” (kidney infection) for much more information on the proper care and healing of the urinary tract. The bladder and kidneys are closely associated; whatever helps one helps the other.
  • Acidify the urine by drinking 1-2 quarts of cranberry juice per day, for the first day, and 1 quart a day thereafter while the crisis continues.
  • Helpful herbs include juniper, lovage, parsley, uva ursi, rupturewort, bearberry, birch, and prickly restharrow. Do not add sweetener or milk to the tea.
  • The use of aluminum cookware is another cause of cystic symptoms. Avoid zinc and iron supplements.
  • Potassium deficiencies can lead to renal (kidney) disorders.
  • To relieve the pain and encourage healing, take hot sitz (sitting) baths twice a day, for 20 minutes.
  • A hot water bottle placed in direct contact to the urethral and vaginal openings may be extremely helpful in reducing pain. A heat lamp can also be used.
  • Women should especially avoid bacterial infection ascending into the bladder: The urinary outlet of the urethra is close to the vagina. When sexual intercourse is not done with clean hands or too frequently, germs are more likely to enter the urethra. Wipe from front to back following bowel movements, urinate before and after intercourse, and wear cotton underclothing (it lets air through and absorbs moisture better).
  • Avoid douches, hygiene sprays, bubble baths, soap in the bath water, and nylon clothing. Wash carefully during the monthly, to avoid bacteria from going up the urethra.
  • Do not use tampons if there are frequent urinary tract infections. Rinse underwear well, to get all the soap out.
  • Boil panties in plain water.
  • Shower after bathing in a swimming pool.
  • Dress to keep the extremities warm; cold extremities weaken the trunk organs, including the urinary tract.
  • Birth control pills and spermaticides may cause cystitis.


The Natural Remedies Encyclopedia by Vance Ferrell & Harold M Cherne M. D.

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