Cystitis is an acute infection that happens in the bladder. These sorts of infections are often recurring and can quickly become a chronic condition. More women suffer from cystitis than men, because the ureter is much shorter in women and tends to succumb to infection faster.
What are the symptoms of cystitis? Anyone who has had the condition is likely very familiar with the following: a frequent urge to pass water, a sharp pain (in the urethra for women), and inflammation. Urine may look cloudy and have a strong smell. Pain usually occurs just before urination or just after.
Because cystitis can become a chronic, nagging condition, there seems to be a great deal of need for alternative remedies. No one wants to be on medication long term, especially if that medication starts to deplete the body’s supply of friendly bacteria.
With that in mind, here are four alternative remedies you can turn to the next time you have a bladder infection that keeps flaring up.
1. Essential Oil
Here’s a simple thing you can do when you find yourself with a bladder infection: add some essential oil to the bathtub. Try putting up to 10 drops of bergamot, chamomile, lemon (only five drops needed), or sandalwood into your bathwater just before you get into the tub. Alternately, you can put a few drops of any of these oils onto a warm compress, pressing the compress against your abdomen gently.
Many herbs exert healing and beneficial effects in the body and the bladder is no exception. First off, make sure you drink lots of fluids if you have a bladder infection to help flush out the infection. Next, try these herbal teas: chamomile or meadowsweet. Chamomile and meadowsweet help to reduce inflammation. Buchu may be a particularly useful herb for treating cystitis. Buchu acts as a urinary antiseptic, helping to prevent recurring cystitis attacks. Buchu will also help to soothe the inflamed membranes of the bladder and urinary system. Bearberry is also an antiseptic and may be the best herbal remedy to use when the urine is acidic and/or burning. Celery seed, on the other hand, can have an alkalizing effect on the urine, while marshmallow or agrimony can prove soothing to swollen tissues.
3. Lemon Barley Water
If you’re suffering from an attack of cystitis, you’ll want to avoid drinking alcohol, coffee, or strong tea until the condition clears up. Instead, make this infection-fighting drink: lemon barley water. Simply cook some pear barley in a pot of covered water—bring to a boil. Strain the barley and throw this water away. Next, simmer the barley in fresh water for about 5 minutes. Add lemon zest to the water. Strain the barley and keep the liquid in a jug in the fridge. Drink your lemon barley water throughout the day to ease symptoms of cystitis.
Try this remedy if you have the classic symptoms of cystitis, including burning pain and an urge to urinate frequently: cantharis. Two other homeopathic remedies include pulsatilla and staphysagria.
“Cystitis,” The Mayo Clinic web site; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cystitis/basics/definition/CON-20024076, last accessed Jan. 5, 2014.
“Cystitis in Women,” Patient.co.uk web site; http://www.patient.co.uk/health/cystitis-in-women, last accessed Jan. 5, 2014.