What is Cystitis?
Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder. In most cases this inflammation is caused by a bacterial infection and is considered an infection of the urinary tract. Cystitis most often occurs in women, due to anatomical differences. However, in middle-aged men, a swollen prostate is the typical cause of urine retention, which can then cause an infection.
Approximately 20-40% of women get cystitis during their lives. Underlying causes include nutritional deficiencies and immune susceptibility, as well as often the more obvious irritations from intercourse, tight clothing, hot spices, coffee, tea, alcohol or high sugar in the urine. Food allergies may be a significant factor, especially in children. Medication, particularly drugs used for chemotherapy, can cause inflammation of the bladder. Also, long-term use of a catheter may cause inflammation of the bladder.
Symptoms of cystitis can be uncomfortable and unpleasant. Symptoms include pain or burning (before, during or after urination), cloudy urine that can be smelly, a strong urge to urinate which is difficult to resist, frequently passing small amounts of urine, and a discomfort or pressure in the lower pelvic area.
Cystitis is conventionally treated with antibiotics. However, cystitis can be treated successfully with homeopathy, although in some cases antibiotic treatment may be necessary. If this happens, homeopathic remedies can be used as well, and the need for prolonged antibiotic treatment may be reduced or eliminated. Repeated and prolonged use of antibiotics suppresses the immune system and there is a high risk of developing a resistance to antibiotics which might become a problem if antibiotics are needed in emergencies and more serious conditions. We need to remember that our body has an innate ability to heal itself, thus the correct homeopathic remedy can easily tackle the discomfort and pain .
*Note: There can be other causes for these symptoms. The patient with more than one episode of acute cystitis must consult their GP as to fully investigate the urinary tract as a whole. Provided that serious disease has been excluded by the appropriate medical tests, homeopathic medicine may be more beneficial than some orthodox medical treatments.
General advice: Drink plenty of water to flush out the infection. Avoid coffee, tea and alcohol as these acidify the body. As germs come from the anal area wipe from front to back with toilet paper. Don’t use soaps, shower gels & bath lotions contain chemicals. Empty bladder after intercourse. Avoid tight clothing and wear cotton pants. Taking regular probiotics such as Acidophilus helps to keep the gut replenished with healthy bacteria which reduces chances of infections.
Homeopathy for Cystitis
- Apis: This remedy may be indicated when there are burning and stinging pains during urination. Last drops burn and smart. Retention of urine, especially in the night. Difficult, frequent or slow urination; must press to pass urine. Great restlessness and the person is very fidgety. Worse from heat in any form, so this remedy is to be considered if the person cannot bear a hot application on their tummy. No thirst.
- Belladonna: Dull pressing pain in bladder – the entire lower pelvic area feels hot. Shooting pain in bladder when moving. Spasmodic pains of ureter and bladder. Incontinence (continuous dripping of urine). Frequent and profuse urination. There is a great thirst for cold water and the person is very restless.
- Cantharis: Cantharis is one of the main remedies for cystitis. There is a very frequent urge to urinate. Stinging/burning/cutting pains before, during and after urination. Severe burning pains in bladder. Heavy sensation in the bladder, feels sore on slightest motion. Small quantities of dark urine, with or without blood. Bladder pains, worse drinking even the smallest amount of water. Better from warm applications. Thirst unquenchable. Aggravation from drinking coffee – drinking the smallest quantity increases pain in bladder.
- Causticum: This remedy is to be considered for retention of urine after labour and surgical ops. Paralysis of bladder from long retention of urine and consequent incontinence. Involuntary passing of urine when coughing, walking, blowing nose etc. Urine dribbles or passes slowly.
- Equisetum: This remedy may be useful for urgent desire to urinate with prickling, biting and itching sensations. Frequent and profuse urination of clear/watery urine. Feeling of fullness in bladder, not relieved by urination. Sharp, burning, cutting pain during urination.
- Mercurius corrosivus: This remedy may be useful for severe and painful cystitis. Very painful spasms of the bladder. Frequent urge to urinate. Intense burning in bladder and urethra. Stabbing pain up urethra into bladder. Burning pain with little or no urine. Urine is dark/bloody. Unquenchable thirst for cold drinks.
- Sarsaparilla: Painful spasm of the bladder. Urination easier when standing. Unbearable pain at the end of urination. Urine is scanty and contains blood.
- Staphisagria: ‘Honeymoon cystitis’, worse after sex. Irritable bladder. Burning pains in the urethra, especially between urination. Pain better from passing urine. Pressure upon bladder, feels as if bladder not empty. No thirst.
Herbs for Cystitis
Herbs for the urinary tract generally have diuretic effects, to flush out microorganisms and inflammation by-products. Many are also anti-microbial, either destroying microorganisms or stimulating the body to do so. Here are a few herbs that might be helpful to combat bladder infections:
- Cranberry reduces bacteria and prevents them from adhering to the bladder walls. It can be taken as a preventative in people with recurring infections. Cranberry mildly acidifies the urine, eliminating alkaline bacteria (i.e. E. coli)
- Goldenseal has anti-inflammatory anti-microbial properties, it destroys many types of bacteria. It is especially effective for chronic cystitis and has an healing effect on bladder linings, stops bleeding and heals ulceration.
- Marshmallow is a soothing demulcent to the lining of the urinary tract. It decreases inflammation in the urinary tract.
- Uva ursi has diuretic and astringent effects in acute and chronic urinary problems. It is a urinary ‘disinfectant’ as it has anti-septic properties, effective for many types of bacteria. Avoid acidic foods, and cranberry, which decrease its effectiveness.
- Yarrow increases urination. It has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, while soothing bladder spasms. Yarrow tones the urinary tract and acts and acts as a mild pain reliever in infections.
Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of your physician or health care provider. First aid situations may require medical or hospital care. Do not use this article as a means to diagnose a health condition. Speak to your doctor if you think that your condition may be serious, before discontinuing any medication that has been prescribed for you, or before starting any new treatment.
If you cannot decide which homeopathic remedy to select or if you have recurring or chronic cystitis, then please book an appointment for a full consultation with a professional homeopath.
Ulrike Holzer LSECH MSCH MARH RHom