Being diagnosed with cystitis can be frightening, but it has to be remembered that 'cystitis' is just a name for a group of symptoms that usually start because of a urinary tract infection. Relief from cystitis therefore is usually just a matter of treating the related infection. Doctors often prescribe antibiotics for this, but there are also natural ways to obtain cystitis relief. People have obtained natural relief from all kinds of infection throughout our history.
But back to the basics - let us assume that cystitis is another name for a UTI - a urinary tract infection. The majority of UTIs are caused by faecal bacteria - in most cases gram-negative rod-shaped bacteria like E.Coli - the most common uropathogen. Generally this is caused by bacteria entering the urethra. In young girls the contamination may be caused by poor wiping technique, although this has never been scientificly proven. In adults the cause is commonly, but not always, contamination via sexual activity. Hands are rarely sterile, and neither are genitals. Faecal bacteria are almost everywhere, often even in regular tap water. It is therefore impossible to be clinically sterile, and despite our best intentions bacteria is often transmitted to the urethra during intercourse, leading to cystitis and urinary tract infection.
There are a few myths related to cystitis that are worth dispensing with...
If you urinate before sex, any bacteria that enter the urethra have less chance of being flushed away in the urine, and more chance of being able to attach directly to the lining of the bladder. It is however important to urinate after sex.
Bacteria that cause urinary tract infections thrive in acids, and cranberry causes hippuric acid to develop in the urine. The acidic form of Vitamin C also ends up in urine, and, like hippuric acid, can feed the bacteria that cause UTIs. It can also damage the lining of the bladder allowing bacteria to attach more readily. In fact, alkalising the urine is much better at preventing the bacteria from proliferating.
The reason it is a myth is that about 10% of men will at some time or other in their lives contract urinary tract infection, and this may develop into a prostate infection known as bacterial prostatitis. It's just as important for men to urinate after sex. Seminal fluid remaining in the penis after sex provides an aqueous path for bacteria to travel through the urethra.
But what about when it all goes wrong, and cystitis strikes? The first time it strikes people may not even recognise it. The lower abdominal cramps can be mistaken for food poisoning, but it is usually a combination of the following symptoms that point to cystitis or a urine infection.
Repeat cystitis sufferers soon learn to recognise the symptoms of an attack, and those familiar with D-Mannose will immediately take a double dose. Generally, this will stop an impending cystitis attack in it's tracks. For people prone to cystitis, taking a maintenance dose of D-Mannose on a regular basis will usually bring permanent relief from cystitis. However, if an infection has already gained momentum, it usually takes a course of D-Mannose to help ensure all bacteria are flushed out of the urinary system.
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