Getting 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. Getting relief from cystitis therefore is usually just a matter of getting rid of the related infection. Doctors prescribe antibiotics for this, but there are also natural ways to obtain cystitis relief, and it should be borne in mind that 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 simple infection by faecal bacteria - in most cases gram -negative rod-shaped bacteria like E.Coli - the most common uropathogen. Generally this is caused by bacteria getting up the urethra. In young girls the contamination can be caused by poor 'wiping' technique. In adults the cause is more commonly, but not always, contamination via sexual activity. Hands are rarely sterile, and neither are fingers, tongues, vaginas or penises. Faecal bacteria are everywhere in our environment, and often even present in tap water. It is therefore impossible to be clinically sterile, and despite our best intentions it is easy for bacteria to be massaged up the urethra during intercourse, leading to cystitis and all the symptoms of urinary tract infection.
There are a few myths related to cystitis that are worth dispensing with...
The reason it is a myth: if you urinate before sex, any bacteria that get up the urethra have less chance of getting flushed away in the urine, and more chance of being able to attach directly to the lining of the bladder. That said, it is very important to get up immediately after sex and urinate.
The reason it is a myth: the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections thrive in acids, and cranberry causes hippuric acid to end up in the urine. The acidic form of Vitamin C also ends up in the urine, and, like hippuric acid, can feed the bacteria that cause UTIs. It can also damage the lining of the bladder allowing the bacteria to attach more readily. In fact, alkalising the urine is much better at preventing the bacteria from growing, and many customers report that D-Mannose is the best way to prevent the bacteria from attaching.
The reason it is a myth is that about 10% of men will at some time or other in their lives get a urinary tract infection, and this may lead to a prostate infection known as bacterial prostatitis. It is therefore just as important for men as it is for women to get up after sex and urinate. Seminal fluid left in the penis after sex provides an excellent fluid to allow bacteria to swim up the urethra.
But what about when it all goes wrong, and a cystitis attack begins? The first time it happens people may not even recognise it for what it is. The low-down cramps can be mistaken for food poisoning, but it is usually the combination of symptoms that point to cystitis or urine infection. Any of the following can be present: cramping or painful bladder; burning hot or stingy urine; smelly or cloudy urine; needing to pass water, but unable to urinate; fever; headache, kidney pain...
Repeat cystitis sufferers soon learn to recognise the symptoms that mean the onset of an attack, and those familiar with D-Mannose will immediately take a double dose. Generally, this will stop a pending cystitis attack in its 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 full pack of the D-Mannose tablets or powder to ensure that all bacteria are flushed out of the system. Then it's a good idea to go on a maintenance dose for a while.
Sweet Cures’ Anna talks about her battle with cystitis.
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