Struggling with Urinary Tract Infections – expert tips to beat cystitis

Why are we susceptible to Urinary Tract Infections and how can we minimise the discomfort when they strike? Rob Hobson has the answers.

Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s)  are more common in women but as men age the problem also becomes more prevalent and this is very similar to an enlarged prostate causing UTI’s. 

An enlarged prostate is very common in men over the age of 50 and suspect that this could be the cause of your cystitis, a trip to the doctor would be very worthwhile.  Treating an enlarged prostate early is very effective and can prevent symptoms worsening. 

Urinary Tract Infections occur for many reasons and age is definitely one of them plus anatomy has a role to play as women have a much shorter urethra than a man, which shortens the distance that bacteria must travel to reach the bladder. 

As we age, structural changes can make infections become more likely and this can leave the lining of the urethra becoming slightly thinner, more sensitive and therefore, more prone to infections. This is down to the position of the bladder changing and in the case of a prolapse it can be influenced by lowering levels of oestrogen as women go through the menopause which affects the structure of the urinary tract too (making it thinner, dryer and more vulnerable to infection in some cases).

As an expanding uterus (or prostate for that matter) pushes into the bladder it can restrict its space. This can lead to a whole host of problems, or it can compromise the correct emptying of the bladder when it’s time to go to the toilet. Both scenarios mean infections are much more likely to take hold.

There are a number of things you can do to help reduce recurrent UTI’s or treat them:

Try a helping hand from nature 

Whilst in some cases you may need to see a health care professional to treat a UTI fast, depending on the severity of your symptoms, herbal remedies such as A.Vogel’s Uva-ursi & Echinacea Cystitis Oral Drops (50 ml) which help relieve minor urinary complaints and symptoms such as burning sensation and frequent urination all associated with cystitis – a common Urinary Tract Infections.  Take 15 drops of Uva-ursi and Echinacea Complex in a little water 2 to 5 times daily. This product should only be used by those over the age of 18.

Avoid hot baths and showers don’t help 

Whilst most of us will jump in the shower or a hot bath without a second thought our personal hygiene regime could potentially be having an influence if one suffers from recurring UTI’s. 

The area in and around your urinary tract has a specific pH balance which naturally helps to fend off bad bacteria, so if we upset this balance by using harsh soaps or body washes, we can give bacteria the opportunity they need to thrive. Soaps and body washes can also risk drying out your skin and the delicate mucous membranes that line your urinary tract. If these special membranes become drier, then they also become more susceptible to damage. 

Refresh the parts others can’t reach…

For women, menopause tends to be the trigger for almost every bit of you feeling drier than the Sahara. This is thanks to a drop in the hormone oestrogen drying out our mucous membranes. And this, unsurprisingly, also makes vaginal tissue drier and sex potentially uncomfortable.

There is also growing evidence that sea buckthorn supplements (the antioxidant rich oil from the sea buckthorn plant contains omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9) can help to lubricate the whole body including the eyes, mouth and skin. A study on postmenopausal women also shows taking sea buckthorn in supplement form can improve the condition of vaginal tissue. Try: Healthspan Sea Buckthorn Oil, 60 capsules RRP £16.95 

Is your diet the missing link to keeping you well hydrated?

Exactly how much water an individual needs is dependent on the person and their lifestyle or environment says Rob Hobson, Healthspan Head of Nutrition. “As a rule, most consider 1.5-2L per day to keep well hydrated.  Don’t forget foods play a vital role also eating watery fruits like melons and vegetables such as lettuce, cucumber and celery.  Omegas play a key role in and are not just found in oily fish they are also in green vegetables, quinoa walnuts and flaxseed oil.” 

Use a lubricant 

Many women find that they only feel dryness and discomfort during sex, while others experience it daily. In addition, the usual elasticity of the vagina and vulva can be lost, which can lead to painful sex and irritation, damage or bruising to the bladder wall and the urethra, causing inflammation.  

If you’re a sufferer of recurrent cystitis or Urinary Tract Infections, it’s important to ensure that dryness isn’t exacerbating your symptoms and there are a number of lubricants now available both hormonal and non-hormonal and available  in different formats depending on what preference is.  

Counteract your antibiotics 

If a course is required to help get things under control, always take a probiotic alongside them as they will help replace your good bacteria to naturally keep bad bacteria in check.   In addition to this, taking  a prebiotic such as A.Vogel’s Molkosan (200ml, £6.25) which will help to create an environment in your body in which good bacteria can thrive in.  

Urinary Tract Infections fact or fiction? 

Cranberry taken daily long-term can help in the prevention of cystitis. It can be found in  many different formats depending on what you like such as a  the delicious Biotta Cranberry juice drink and it is recommended to drink 100ml a day.

If one doesn’t  like the taste there are tablets in the form of A.Vogel’s Cranberry Complex (30 tablets, £20.75) – a nutritional food supplement containing cranberry, nasturtium, horseradish root, golden rod and bergamot. 

Cranberry Complex contains fresh cranberries, which help prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall and when taken every day this helps to reduce the chances of an infection starting in your bladder.   It is recommended that after an episode of cystitis, use Cranberry Complex to maintain the health of your bladder if required. Take one tablet a day, or two if you feel like you need to. 

Sanitary products 

Sanitary products are a necessity until we reach a certain age and menopause, however could the product you’re picking be having an influence on the incidence of Urinary Tract Infections? Sanitary towels or tampons can harbour bacteria if they aren’t changed regularly enough, so it’s important to keep on top of that, and also, dryness is another factor to consider. Don’t use too great an absorbency rating, also go lower and change more often where possible.

If men, or women younger than 18, experience the symptoms of cystitis then medical advice should be sought. For severe bladder infections, with symptoms such as back pain or blood in the urine, then you should seek medical advice as soon as possible.

If symptoms are recurrent, it is best to seek advice from your GP or a Consultant Gynaecologist.

For more stories like Struggling with Urinary Tract Infections – expert tips to beat cystitis see our Health channel.

Tags: , , , Last modified: June 28, 2022

Written by 3:45 pm Health

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