Cystitis is the medical term for inflammation of the urinary bladder. This condition is usually caused by a bacterial infection called urinary tract infection (UTI). It is painful and irritating but it can become a serious health problem when left untreated or if the infection spreads to the kidneys. Mild cases get better within a few days but some may experience recurring episodes of cystitis frequently and may need regular treatment.
The symptoms are pelvic discomfort, pressure in the lower abdomen, persistent urge to urinate, burning sensation when urinating, frequent passing of small amounts of urine, blood in the urine, cloudy or strong-smelling urine and sometimes the symptoms are associated with a low-grade fever, chills, nausea and vomiting.
Types of cystitis
- Bacterial cystitis: Cystitis which is caused by a type of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria is the most common form of cystitis. Bacterial cystitis usually occurs in women due to intercourse but even intimate inactive women are affected because the female genital region harbors the bacteria normally.
- Noninfectious cystitis: Cystitis can also be caused by number of non-infectious factors such as
- Interstitial cystitis: It is also called painful bladder syndrome and it causes chronic cystitis. This condition mostly affects the women without any clear etiology.
- Drug-induced cystitis: Certain medication such as chemotherapy drugs causes cystitis.
- Radiation cystitis: Radiation to the pelvic area can cause inflammatory changes in the bladder.
- Foreign body cystitis: Prolonged use of urinary catheter can predispose to bacterial infections and tissue damage, which can lead to cystitis.
- Chemical cystitis: Certain chemical substances in certain cosmetic products, lotions and bubble bath, hygiene sprays and spermicidal creams can lead to irritation and inflammation.
- Medical conditions: Such as diabetes, kidney stones, an enlarged prostate, etc can predispose to cystitis.
- Women are more likely to develop cystitis and recurrent urinary tract infections due to shorter urethra, which enables the bacteria from the bowels (anus) to reach the bladder faster and easier than the males. Some of the risk factors are intercourse, usage of certain birth control methods such as vaginal diaphragms, pregnancy and menopause due to hormonal changes.
Other risk factors are:
- Interference to the flow of urine due to a stone in the bladder or an enlarged prostate in men.
- Lowered immune system increases the risk of bacterial infections.
- Prolonged use of urinary catheters
Cystitis rarely leads to serious complications but if left untreated, they can lead to pyelonephritis which can permanently damage the kidneys.
Urine analysis to determine the cause of the cystitis and UTI and sometimes a cystoscopy or an imaging test to determine the cause of the symptoms.
Prevention and Management of cystitis
- Drink large amounts of fluids and water to flush out the infection and unwanted toxins from the body.
- Avoid tea and coffee as they can aggravate the symptoms.
- Women should empty the bladder and wash it after intercourse to avoid infection.
- Hygiene products such as talcum powder, sprays and perfumed soap should be avoided as they irritate your urethra.
- Avoid wearing synthetic undergarments, thongs or tight trousers instead use pure and soft cotton underwear.
- Do not hold the urge to urinate. Urinate frequently.
- Women should wipe the perineal area from front to back after a bowel movement. This prevents bacteria in the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.
- Gently wash the skin around the vagina and anus with a mild soap.
- Avoid using deodorant sprays or feminine products in the genital area as they can irritate the urethra and bladder.
- To relieve pain and discomfort, hold a hot water bottle on the tummy or between your thighs
- It is better to avoid having intercourse until the symptoms disappear.
- Women should opt for other methods of contraception than using vaginal diaphragms.
Homeopathic treatment for cystitis
Best remedies in homeopathy to treat cystitis are:
Cantharis: Strong urging to urinate with cutting pains that are felt before the urine passes, as well as during and after urination. Urine passes in drops with a scalding sensation. There is a persistent and violent urging to urinate, with great tenesmus. The urine is passed only in drops and seems like molten lead passing through the urethra with scalding and burning. It is indicated in acute cystitis, renal stones and urethritis.
Arnica Montana: It is useful for treating cystitis following the bruising injuries to the perineum. It is, therefore, suitable for urinary problems following childbirth. There may be trouble emptying the bladder and some involuntary dribbling.
Apocynum cannabinum: Apocynum act on the kidneys and is indicated in dropsical conditions. Scanty urine, which is light in color, or sherry-colored. Incontinence of urine and enuresis. A sinking bruised feeling at the stomach with an unquenchable thirst.
Nux vomica: Irritable bladder with a constant urge to urinate. Burning or cramping pain is felt in the bladder area, with an itching sensation in the urethra while passing urine. Symptoms relieved by hot baths or warmth. Incontinence of urine, irritability at the neck of the bladder, frequent ineffectual efforts to urinate accompanied by burning and tearing pains; the urine passes in drops. Cystitis with painful urging and scanty urine. The urine is dark with red brick-dust sediment, or bloody, or mixed with a tenacious mucus.
Sarsaparilla: This remedy is very useful in cystitis and indicated when symptoms are unclear, or if other remedies do not work. Frequent urging with burning pain at the end of urination. Urine passes when the person is standing. Flakes or sediment are sometimes seen in the urine.
Aconitum napellus: This remedy is often useful when a person feels anxious both before and during urination, with hot, scanty urine, and a burning or spasmodic pain in the urethra. It can also be helpful if retention of urine occurs after a person has been very cold and chilled, or after a shaking experience.
Apis mellifica: Stinging and burning sensations while urinating with scanty or suppressed urine. Thirstlessness with odema of various parts, drowsiness and difficult micturition. The urine is dark, highly albuminous, and contains casts. Frequent desire, with the passage of a few drops at a time. Great irritation at the neck of the bladder and incontinence of urine.
Belladonna: The bladder feels very sensitive with cramping or writhing sensation felt in the bladder. Small amounts of highly-colored urine pass. Painful urination.
Berberis vulgaris: Cystitis with cutting pains in the bladder or a burning feeling that extends to the urethra and its opening. Sensation of incomplete emptying of the bladder, the person feels as if some urine still remains inside. Urging and discomfort are often worse from walking. It is indicated in cystitis with renal stones with severe pain in the back. The urine is red colored and has a reddish deposit consisting of mucus, epithelium and lithates.
Borax: This remedy is indicated for cystitis with smarting pain in the urethra and aching in the bladder, with retained urine. Children cry or shriek and are afraid to urinate because of the pain.
Clematis: Frequent urination of small amount of urine. Sensation of constriction in the urinary tract, and interrupted flow with dribbling of urine. Tingling sensation after urination.
Equisetum: Cystitis accompanied by dull but distressing pain and a feeling of fullness in the bladder, even after urinating. Urging and discomfort are more intense when the bladder has been emptied. The urine is scanty, high colored and contains much mucus. It acts well in males especially in chronic cases of cystitis with prostatic enlargement.
Lycopodium: Frequent urination at night of large amounts of urine. Painful urge with much straining. Pain felt in the back before the urine passes.
Sepia: Frequent urination with sudden urging and small amounts of involuntary urine. Bearing-down sensation in the bladder region with pressure above the pubic area. It is one of the prominent remedies for cystitis with a reddish clay-colored sediment adhering to the vessel, a sediment of red sand. It is also a remedy for wetting the bed at night during the first sleep. Cystitis with constant desire to urinate and dragging in the bladder.
Staphysagria: This remedy is often indicated for cystitis that develops in a woman after intercourse. Pressure may be felt in the bladder after urinating, as if it is not empty. A sensation that a drop of urine is rolling through the urethra, or a constant burning feeling. Staphysagria is also useful for cystitis that develops after illnesses with extended bed rest, or after prolonged use of catheters.
Mercurius corrosivus: Cystitis with tenesmus of the bladder and intense burning. The urine passes in drops with cutting pain which extends into the abdomen, the bladder and urethra. The most distressing symptom is the constant urging to urinate accompanied by the terrible distress at the neck of the bladder. This pain is aggravated immediately following micturition, Frequent urge but passes little urine, and the urine is bloody and albuminous.
Pareira brava: There is violent straining to urinate, where the patient has to kneel to urinate, the urine scalds terribly with violent pains in the thighs. The urine has a strong ammoniacal odor. Contains thick viscid white mucus or deposits or red sand. It is also a useful remedy in irritable bladder with dull aching in bladder and feeling as if the bladder is distended.
Digitalis purpurea: Pressure in the bladder which micturition does not relieve. Inflammation in the neck of the bladder with intense desire to urinate, which is increased by the passage of a few drops. Throbbing pain at neck of the bladder. The urine is scanty, thick, turbid, and contains a sediment like that of brick-dust. The urging to urinate due to the enlargement of the prostate gland
Terebinth: The urine is smoky, turbid, with sediment like coffee grounds. It is indicated for burning micturition and painful strangury. Terebinth is a useful homeopathic remedy in cystitis, with much tenesmus of the bladder and the scanty, bloody urine; there is also pressure in the bladder, which extends to the kidneys.
Schwabe India’s mother tinctures such as Uva ursi Q, Equisetum Q, Piper methysticum Q, etc are very effective in the treatment of cystitis. Sabal pentarkan is one of the specialty products from Schwabe India to treat the symptoms of cystitis.