Bladder Infections

Bladder Infections

Frequent urges to urinate, accompanied by burning, stinging pain during and especially at the end of urination are the typical characteristics of a bladder infection. Dribbling urination is common and emptying the bladder will not always relieve the urge. The onset of the infection can be slow or sudden and cramping pains intensify the suffering. Since kidney infections can result from untreated bladder infections, seek professional care if the pain is severe or if the infection does not react to treatment.

Causes and Nutrition

Bladder infections result from bacteria that cause an inflammation of the bladder's inner lining. In women, the urethra is short and close to the anus and vagina, so bacteria can enter the bladder easily. E. coli is the most common bacterial cause of bladder infection. Genital hygiene is crucial in women who are predisposed to, or suffer from, recurrent bladder infections.

Men also get bladder infections as a result of a chill or possibly a prostrate problem. Antibiotics, oral contraceptives, stress and poor diet all weaken the immune system and create a tendency for recurring infections. Some sexually transmitted diseases also cause symptoms similar to those of bladder infections.

For patients with a bladder infection, cranberry juice is high in vitamin C and very effective against bacterial infection. Pure cranberry juice without added sweetener can be found in health food stores. Components in cranberry juice inhibit the ability of bacteria to adhere to the mucus membrane of the bladder. Drink at least 10 glasses of fluids. Juices should be diluted. Carrot juice is good for flushing acid waste. Watermelon juice cleanses the kidneys. Garlic works well to fight bacteria and strengthen immunity. During the acute stage of the infection, avoid salty, spicy foods as these irritate the bladder. Refined carbohydrates and simple sugars, acid and sediment forming foods, coffee, black tea, tomatoes, cooked spinach and yeast breads should also be avoided.

Nutritional Supplements

Bladder infections are helped with large doses of vitamin C, which increases the acidity of urine, producing an environment unfavorable for bacteria. Vitamin C also aids the immune system in fighting the infection. If vitamin C causes loose stools, reduce the dosage slightly.

Especially for recurring bladder infections, vitamins A and E are recommended. Vitamin E improves oxygen supply to the cells and prevents scarring that can sometimes become quite severe with the recurring irritation of interstitial bladder inflammation. Vitamin A and beta-carotene are essential for maintaining the mucus membranes that line the bladder walls. They also support immune-system function. Zinc should be added for a stronger immune system.

Garlic capsules act as natural antibacterial agents. Acidophilus cultures help prevent bladder infections related to candida and should be added to the diet whenever antibiotics are being taken. If infections are chronic and recurring, green-food supplements and drinks, especially chlorella, spirulina and blue-green algae, support cell renewal.

Herbal Remedies

Herbal teas help clear the infection and heal the urinary tract. Add one cup of boiling water to one teaspoon of the following herbs, steep for 15 minutes, strain and drink one cup three times daily.

Horsetail increases the excretion of urine by 30 per cent and strengthens the elastic tissue of bladder walls.

For chronic bladder infection, use a blend containing equal parts of camomile flowers, uva ursi leaves and bearberry leaves.

Lemon balm, birch leaves, stinging nettle leaves and roots, dandelion leaves and roots, parsley, yarrow or rose hips, will all help clear up the infection.

Homeopathy

Choose one of the remedies below in the 6c strength, repeating hourly for three doses, then four times daily until symptoms disappear. Dissolve two tablets under the tongue. Seek professional advice if no improvement is noted.

Cantharis is the first remedy to consider for a bladder infection when, despite the sudden, strong urging, the urine dribbles, accompanied by burning pains, particularly at the end of urination.

Use Apis if the pains are stinging and sharp, worse from, the least heat or touch. Cold often feels good.

Belladonna is indicated for a fierce infection that begins quickly, causing burning and urging even after passing urine. Typically the bladder is extremely sensitive to any movement, even jarring, and a fever usually accompanies the infection.

Dulcamara helps if an infection begins after exposure to cold or after getting wet.

Use Pulsatilla if the pain is not very intense, yet the other typical bladder infection signs exist. Other indications for this remedy are little thirst and a desire for open air and gentle motion.

Hot herbal packs, compresses, prolonged sitzbaths and alternating foot baths are very successful in treating a bladder infection.

To strengthen the bladder, exercise the sphincter muscle by contracting it and holding for a few seconds and then releasing it. This exercise is identical to stopping the urine flow in mid stream. Repeat this exercise a few times a day.

Avoid spicy foods and coffee, which add irritation to an already inflamed bladder. Drink ample fluids to prevent and treat a bladder infection. Fluids help expel existing bacteria and flush the bladder regularly to keep bacteria out.

Canadian Health Reform Products Ltd.

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