Bladder infection, or cystitis, is a form of urinary tract infection which occurs when bacteria infiltrates the urinary tract and infects the urethra and the bladder. Bladder infections result from bacteria that cause an inflammation of the bladder’s inner lining. In bladder inflammations without the presence of an infection, known as interstitial inflammations, the pain and swelling occur between the urinary bladder lining and the bladder muscle, not on the bladder walls as in most infections.
Antibiotics, oral contraceptives, stress, and improper diet all weaken the immune system and create a tendency for recurring infections. Bacteria may pre-sensitize the bladder so that various promoters (some foods, drugs, viruses, or even exposure to cold drafts and dampness) may start the chronic disease process. Also, cystitis is more common in women.
Bladder infections often respond to diet and lifestyle changes. Though foods and beverages do not usually cause bladder problems to develop, some can make symptoms worse. Avoid alcohol, artificial sweeteners, soda pop, and sugar. If experiencing bladder problems, limit consumption of caffeine, dairy foods, fruits or fruit juice, honey, and meat. Also, try to avoid taking aspirin, and avoid exposure to tobacco smoke.
Moderate exercise may be helpful for preventing bladder function. Avoid overeating, and maintain a proper weight. Drink at least 8-12 cups of water daily, but not large amounts at one time. Proper genital hygiene is important in women who suffer from recurrent bladder infections. Constipation can affect bladder function, so try to consume a high fiber diet. Avoid stress.
Some vitamins and herbs are considered helpful in improving bladder function. Herbs, and other foods, considered helpful include: apple, asparagus, bearberry, birch, blueberry, carrot, celery, cherries, chickweed, chicory, couch grass, cranberry, cucumber, dandelion, echinacea, garlic, goldenseal, horseradish, juniper, lemons, lovage, onion, parsley, peach, radish, shavegrass, stinging nettle, violet, watermelon, willow, yellow dock, and yogurt. Supplements, which may be helpful, include: acidophilus, B complex, beta-carotene, C, calcium and magnesium, E, and zinc.
Caution- Bladder infections can lead to kidney infection, so seek professional medical care, especially if the pain is severe or if the infection does not react to treatment. Other serious signs are lower-back pain, fever, or blood in the urine.
Disclaimer: This article is for entertainment purposes only, and is not intended for use as diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or as a substitute for consulting a licensed medical professional.