Dr. Michael Murray and Dr. Joseph Pizzorno
Dr. Pensanti wishes to thank Dr. Michael Murray and Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, two Naturopathic Physicians, who have written the book "Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine." Much of the information for this program was taken from their book.
What is cystitis and what are its symptoms?
Cystitis, commonly known as the bladder infection, manifests itself in many ways:
- Burning pain on urination
- Increased urinary frequency, especially at night.
- Cloudy, foul smelling or dark urine.
- Lower back pain.
- A urinalysis which shows significant numbers of bacteria and white blood cells.
- Bacterial infection is the cause of cystitis.
How common are bladder infections?
These infections are very common, primarily in women, with 10% to 20% of women experiencing a urinary tract infection at least once a year.
Is cystitis serious?
Most bladder infections are not serious, and are more annoying than harmful. But repeated untreated infections can cause scarring and damage, even into the kidney area (upper urinary tract) which at its worst could cause kidney failure.
How do the bacteria spread to cause the bladder infection?
The bacteria can spread in a variety of ways, primarily through sexual intercourse, pregnancy, mechanical trauma or irritation, and structural
abnormalities of the urinary tract that can block the free flow or urine.
How is it treated?
Traditionally, cystitis is treated with antibiotics, but there are other alternatives that do not have some of the side effects and hazards of antibiotics. Some physicians are starting to see that when antibiotics are used, recurrent bladder infections may be encouraged by disturbing the bacterial flora of the vagina, and giving rise to antibiotic resistant strains of E coli.
What are the alternatives?
Reintroducing friendly bacteria into the vagina is important in treating cystitis. You can buy Lactobacillus Acidophilus products in tablet or capsule form and simply place one or two in the vagina before bed every other night for two weeks.
Promote the flow of urine by drinking 64 oz. of water daily.
Eat cranberries or drink cranberry juice. This acidifies the urine and has antibacterial effects. Blueberries or blueberry juice can also be used.
Some herbs have been found to be helpful in treating cystitis. Uva Ursi (also known as bearberry or upland cranberry) has been shown to be effective when taken in small amounts; also Goldenseal and Gotu Kola have been used in the treatment of cystitis.
Keep your diet free of simple sugars and refined carbohydrates.
Take citrate 125 to 250 mg. 3-4x daily; take Vitamin C 500 mg. every 2 hours; take 1000 mg. of bioflavonoid daily, and take 50,000 IU Vitamin A daily, for two days for infants and for up to a week for adults. (One note of caution, sexually active women of childbearing age should not take this level of Vitamin A as large doses of Vitamin A have been linked to birth defects.)
This is a conservative approach but should take care of most incidences of bladder infections. As always, if symptoms persist, consult your physician.
Helen Pensanti M.D.
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