Cystitis: symptoms, causes, prevention, treatment

Cystitis: symptoms, causes, prevention, treatment

Cystitis is an inflammation of the lower urinary tract that mainly affects women. Find out the causes, how to prevent it, how to cure it with natural remedies.


Cystitis is an inflammation of the lower urinary tract common in women.

At least once in their lives both women and en have suffered from cystitis , with burning, sometimes pains during urination and in the most serious cases even with blood appearances.

  • What is cystitis
  • Symptoms of cystitis
  • Causes of cystitis
  • Diagnosis of cystitis
  • Cystitis in women
  • Cystitis in humans
  • Differences between acute cystitis and chronic cystitis
  • Is cystitis infectious?
  • How to prevent cystitis
  • Nutrition in case of cystitis
  • Herbal remedies for cystitis
  • Cystitis and Bach Flowers
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine and Cystitis
  • Aromatherapy and cystitis
  • Homeopathy and cystitis
  • Exercise for cystitis

What is cystitis

Cystitis is an infection in the urinary tract , which can be acute or chronic , a bitter enemy of both women and men. Caused by various microorganisms, it leads to burning and pain when urinating, a frequent urge to urinate, and in some cases, blood in the urine. This is generally not a dangerous infection unless it reaches the kidneys.

Symptoms of cystitis

The first effective weapon is to recognize the symptoms of cystitis : burning, constant urge to bite, dull pain in the lower abdomen, sometimes accompanied by blood in the urine. Sexual intercourse, constipation and menopause are factors that tend to facilitate the establishment of pathogenic microorganisms. 

Causes of cystitis

The most common cause of cystitis is bacterial in origin . There is also cystitis caused by radiotherapy or interstitial cystitis , a chronic inflammation of the bladder, of a multifactorial nature. 

Basically  bacterial cystitis , which we are going to examine, occurs when the bladder becomes inflamed in an acute or chronic way due to intestinal germs that colonize the vagina. Microorganisms such as Escherichia coli ,  Proteus , or Enterococcus , reach the bladder by going up from the urethra, a duct from which urine comes out, which in women is 3-5 cm long, compared to 13-16 cm in men. 

Diagnosis of cystitis

The observation of the symptoms is combined with a diagnosis based on the results of the urine test and urine culture with count of the bacterial colonies developed and the antibiogram (search for sensitivity to the various antibiotics of the bacteria found). In cases of relapsing cystitis, culture can be performed on a vaginal swab.

Cystitis in women

Cystitis in women are of various kinds. Inflammation of the bladder mucosa is often due to bacterial presence and seems to affect 25-30% of women in adulthood and some develop relapses with forms of recurrent cystitis, i.e. when they recur 2 or 3 times within a year . There is also an irritative form following sexual intercourse , called postcoital cystitis.

These forms of recurrent cystitis can become chronic cystitis, with symptomatic presence even after antibiotic therapy. The symptoms of chronic cystitis are the same as those of acute cystitis, but milder on the one hand, but more lasting or intermittent recurrence.

There are some risk factors that predispose women to relapsing forms, such as estrogen deficiency in menopause , a cause of vaginal trophism and dryness .

Cystitis in humans

It is less common than female cystitis, but  cystitis in humans   can also be caused by the presence of bacteria , drugs , catheterization , radiotherapy or interstitial. Symptoms are similar to cystitis in women, so urgent need to urinate and urinate often, burning when urinating, and sometimes difficulty urinating.

Diagnosis is made through urinalysis, possible ultrasound and in more suspicious cases cystoscopy. Based on the cause, the treatment will be prepared , mainly aimed at disinfecting the part and preserving from possible complications to the kidneys, if in the case of bacterial presence.

Differences between acute and chronic cystitis

Compared to acute cystitis, caused by bacterial infection or even irritation of the urethra, chronic cystitis is generally interstitial cystitis , an inflammation without bacterial load , much more difficult to cure.

It is also referred to as Bladder Pain Syndrome . Compared to the forms of acute cystitis, in addition to the burning sensation from urination, it differs for the presence of differently localized pain that can affect the urethra, bladder, vagina, perineum, legs and abdomen, with intermittent and latent symptoms for some periods.

Diagnosis is essential to avoid unnecessary antibiotic treatments that lead to exacerbation of the disorder. It seems that the cause is to be ascribed to a lesion of the inner lining of the bladder , the urothelium which should be impermeable to harmful factors present in the urine, but which in cases like this presents lesions. The treatments are specific and prepared by specialized urologists.

Is cystitis infectious?

The question arises spontaneously especially when we are talking about cystitis of bacterial origin. The answer is complex. We can say that it is not transmitted from person to person, but the bacterial presence represents a facilitating factor . Sexual intercourse can represent “an opportunity to meet” in the case of bacteria already in place and to prevent this type of possible infection, the use of condoms is recommended.

How to prevent cystitis

There are no particular recipes, but just some tricks and remedies that can be useful to prevent cystitis problems:

  • Correct intimate hygiene , with products with pH respectful of the acid-alkaline balance.
  • Drink plenty of water , to counteract dehydration, promote detoxification.
  • Take care of intestinal regularity .
  • Use underwear in natural fiber , which favors perspiration.
  • D-Mannose : Cycles of this simple sugar help create a protective barrier that prevents the engraftment of coliform bacteria.

Nutrition in case of cystitis 

The main nutritional indication in cystitis is to avoid refined sugars : when cystitis is bacterial in nature, the proliferation of bacteria is favored by sugar.

Among the causes of cystitis there is an alteration of intestinal permeability with the passage of bacteria to other districts such as the uro-genital one. 

To maintain a good intestinal balance and an adequate bacterial flora it is necessary to reduce industrialized foods such as sugary drinks and packaged fruit juices, alcohol, coffee, cheese and sausages. 

Foods such as chilli , pepper and spicy foods that could worsen the symptoms associated with burning should be avoided during the acute attack .

Preferably , a diet rich in fiber and whole grains , fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables, preferably diuretic: fennel , green leafy vegetables, cucumbers , Belgian endive, pineapple , mandarins , strawberries , melon , watermelon . A particularly useful food in this case is blueberry , whose juice shows diuretic and purifying activities of the urinary tract and prevents the adhesion of bacteria to the walls of the bladder. 

It is important to restore a healthy intestinal bacterial flora with species-specific probiotics.

Herbal remedies for cystitis

Herbal remedies for the treatment of cystitis are plants which, on the one hand, exert an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory action on the urinary tract; while on the other hand they facilitate the removal of bacteria that stagnate in the urinary tract, through the stimulation of diuresis.

  • Cranberry : ( Vaccinium macrocarpon , the American variety of our cranberry), its berries have an antibiotic effect on recurrent cystitis and other urinary infections caused most often by Escherichia coli. The bacteriostatic activity is due to the fact that the plant hinders the adherence of bacteria to the bladder and their proliferation in the organism, modifying the chemical composition of the urine.
  • Grapefruit : ( Citrus maxima or grandis ) the very broad spectrum antibiotic efficacy of the seed extract has now been recognized by numerous scientific researches. In phytotherapy it is considered one of the elective remedies in the treatment of urogenital tract disorders, supporting the immune system and bacterial flora, in the fight against infectious attacks;
  • Uva ursina : ( Arctostaphylos uva-ursi ) can be considered a very active antiseptic to be used whenever there is inflammation or infection in the urinary tract, as it is rich in arbutin and capable of determining an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and soothing the continuous urge to urinate or pain. Uva ursina can be prescribed in case of acute cystitis, chronic cystitis, in urethritis, in colobacillosis;
  • Corn : ( Zea mays ) stigmas exert a diuretic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic action, useful in the treatment of painful symptoms in urinary tract diseases;
  • The bud extract of bilberry ( Vaccinium myrtillus ) and cranberry ( Vaccinium vitis idaea ) are also used in the treatment of acute and relapsing cystitis against acute and chronic cystopyelitis, colibacillosis urethritis prostatitis in association with that of heather ( Calluna vulgaris ).

Bach flowers for cystitis

Physical pathologies such as cystitis are not treated directly with Bach flowers , as these remedies act mainly on the emotional state, which leads to the onset of a certain disorder.  

Cystitis is a bacterial infection  that causes inflammation of the urinary tract epithelium. On an emotional level, it can be associated, especially when it relapses, with a couple-level discomfort that occurs precisely in the moments in which one is under pressure, before or after a particularly problematic sexual intercourse. 

Frustration, disappointment and anger can manifest with cystitis , therefore, personalized blends will need to take these similarities into account to modify these negative emotions and thus facilitate the healing process. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine for Cystitis

The stimulation of the points in case of cystitis is functional to reduce the burning and counteract the infection that triggers the symptoms. The relevant organ is the bladder and it involves strengthening the immune system by pressing or inserting needles into:

  • TAI YUAN  (on the transverse crease of the wrist, in the depression outside the radial artery), which tones the energy of the Spleen and Lung and regulates the fluid balance;
  • TAI CHONG  (on the back of the foot, in the depression distal to the joint between the first and second metatarsals), which tones the liver and the biliary vesicle;
  • WEI CHONG  (in the center of the popliteal fossa), which purifies the heat and strengthens the lumbar area).

Chinese dietetics uses mycotherapy for the treatment and prevention of cystitis. In particular, Maitake is a medicinal mushroom useful in the management of inflammatory and bacterial cystitis, such as in the treatment of urothelial carcinomas of the bladder.

Aromatherapy for cystitis

Aromatherapy uses essential oils with antibacterial and bacteriostatic action in the treatment of urinary tract infections.

These essences are taken by mouth 2 drops in a teaspoon of honey 1-3 times a day. Among the most suitable we find: 

  • Juniper essential oil : antiseptic of the urinary tract, like all essential oils, it has an anti-infectious and antibiotic action, but in the case of juniper, it is specific for the genitourinary system. It is indicated to stimulate diuresis and in case of cystitis, edema, lymphatic stasis, water retention, cellulite; 
  • Eucalyptus essential oil : it also has an effective antibacterial activity very suitable for diseases of the urogenital tract in case of cystitis, leucorrhea and candidiasis, for which it is also recommended for the deodorant effect; 
  • Thyme essential oil : it is one of the most powerful remedies against bacterial infections affecting the urinary tract, respiratory system and intestine, caused by proteus mirabilis bacteria, enterococci, staphylococci, streptococci, pneumococci, alcaiescens dispar, neisseria, corynebacteria, in the presence of candidiasis, cystitis enterocolitis, leucorrhoea;
  • Basil essential oil : it is a rebalancing of the intestinal flora, for this reason it is used to restore the optimal microbiological and physiological conditions of the bacterial flora; and to protect it from acid fermentation or from infectious attacks by fungi, yeasts and Gram enterobacteria.

Homeopathy and cystitis

Urinary infections in homeopathy are the expression of a generic condition of precarious health that has transformed the body into a breeding ground for bacteria.

Homeopathic treatment in case of cystitis therefore aims at a profound action to stop the chronicization of the infectious process. In case of acute cystitis, treatment includes: 

  • Arsenicum album 9CH (5 granules, 3 times a day), indicated to reduce the sense of burning and in case of compromised general conditions, with fever, weight loss;
  • Cantharis 7 CH (5 granules, every 2-4 hours), homeopathic preparation derived from cantharides, a beetle insect of the Vesicant family used in case of inflammatory and infectious urinary processes.
  • Another homeopathic remedy is  Mercurius corrosivus 7 CH (5 granules, every 2-4 hours) or alternatively Serum anticolibacillaire 3 DH (1 vial, 3 times a day).

Exercise and cystitis

Movement allows the body to maintain its own balance , and therefore to keep the level of immune defenses high. Exercising is important, because it regulates the body and helps the immune system work. Good personal hygiene is essential .

Yes to all exercises that promote relaxation of the pelvic muscles, which belong as much to yoga (excellent as it also combines breathing and meditation) as to gentle gymnastics. Yes to walks.

It is useful to get used to breathing even with the lower part of the abdomen, so that all organs receive a greater quantity of oxygen, it facilitates intestinal regularity and favors the dissolution of contractures in the pelvis. 

Some professionals in the field of medicine, obstetrics, urology, physiotherapy specialize in rehabilitation of the pelvic floor and will know how to practice an internal massage to the patient with their hands involving the bladder, urethra, uterus and vagina, thus identifying the points of contracture painful to the touch (trigger points) and aiming at their dissolution. The number of sessions varies according to the level of intensity of the contracture.

Look for experienced professionals in this sense ; they will be able to teach you to perform the internal massage even independently, using a special lubricant to avoid minor traumas and / or abrasions.

Specific are the reverse Kegel exercises that involve the pubococcygeus muscle (it is identified with the movement that consists in an attempt to interrupt the flow of urine during urination).
Once identified, it contracts and relaxes according to a specific sequence that can be performed lying down, sitting or, after a little practice, even standing.

Physical activity must not be excessive or intense  but must serve to rebalance the harmony of the body. An exercise to promote intestinal peristalsis, and therefore defend against the attack of bacteria, is to hold a chair and bend the knees until the pelvis is close to the heels without tilting the back. 

Another useful exercise which, by reactivating blood circulation in the kidney area , facilitates their work: lying with the stomach on the ground and the arms folded and crossed under the chin, raise the legs alternately, maintaining the position for 5 to 10 seconds, trying at the same time not to move the pelvis away from the floor.


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