Anna's Top 10 Bladder Health Tips
By Anna Sawkins. Updated 3rd August, 2019
Every year, millions of adult females will suffer from a crippling affliction of Cystitis in the United Kingdom. Around 10% of girls will suffer their first attack by the time they are 16 years old. Less prevalent, but just as serious in men, UTI tends to strike in older age and is thought to be related to prostate problems. Prevention is better than cure, and maintaining optimum bladder health plays a vital role in the fight against Cystitis.
Anna Sawkins suffered from the debilitating effects of Cystitis for years before finally regaining control of her life. You can read her harrowing story here. Below, Anna shares her best tips for maintaining a healthy bladder and preventing recurrent cystitis attacks, also known as Interstitial Cystitis.
Maintaining Bladder Health to Prevent UTI
- Anna's number 1 tip: Use D-Mannose. It's a completely natural approach to optimum bladder health. Rather than destroying the E. coli strain of bacteria causing the infection, D-Mannose will eliminate them from your system. It can be used as both a preventative and to treat a current infection. Be aware that D-Mannose is thought to only work with E. coli, which is responsible for around 90% of Urinary Tract Infections.
- Avoid acidifying foods. Anyone already suffering with bladder infections may refer to these as trigger foods. Food and drinks which can intensify symptoms and the urge to urinate include fatty foods, chocolate, alcohol, orange and cranberry products. These foods can significantly increase urine acidity and aid bacterial growth, consequently aggravating the bladder and worsening symptoms.
- Drinking an adequate amount of water helps to stabilize urine pH which can reduce the growth rate of gram negative bacteria if the pH of your urine is too acidic. Consider alkalising your water by adding lemon juice or lemon barley. Consuming an excessive amount of water can upset your electrolyte balance, lower sodium levels and even lead to water intoxication.
- Avoid Cranberry products completely. Cranberry is still considered a remedy by many, however recent studies have discredited it's effectiveness as medicine for the treatment of urinary tract infections. It introduces hippuric acid which may make symptoms much worse by acidifying the urine in the bladder and encouraging bacterial growth.
- Take a full body, gender free approach to hygiene. Its important for both men and women to exercise proper hygiene since bacteria can enter the bladder from many different sources. Always wipe from front to back after using the toilet. Wash hands in hot water and soap after handling raw meat or chicken, touching animals, touching door handles or touching anything that may be contaminated by bacteria.
- Ensure raw meats are properly cooked to reduce bacterial risk. In 2016, Mark Holmes, of the University of Cambridge detected high levels of antibiotic resistant E. coli in chickens bought from all seven major supermarket chains in the United Kingdom. Wash your hands and utensils thoroughly after handling raw chicken and before handling other foods to avoid cross-contamination.
- Regularly clean your surroundings. Bacteria can grow on any surface, particularly in kitchens and bathrooms. Regularly sterilise products that come in to contact with the body such as toothbrushes, make-up sponges, douches, flannels or any foreign object entering the body such as, scented pads, diaphragms or catheters.
- Use appropriate protection with new partners and always try to urinate both before and after sex. This will help eliminate any E. coli that may have entered the urethra. Your partner's personal hygiene is just as important as your own.
- Learn as much as you can about your particular circumstances. Bladder infections can occur for many different reasons, some preventable and others manageable. When attacks occur try to establish the cause. Was it ater drinking alcohol or after surgery? Have attacks become more frequent as you've aged? Consider paying for a private urine culture test. Idenfifying the type of bacteria present in an established infection helps your Doctor propery treat you.
- Talk with trusted friends or family members. Half of all women and a quarter of all men will contract some type of urine infection at least once in their lifetime. It's not something to be embarrassed by. Talking about your problems will help you reduce stress, release tension and make you feel better about yourself.