Cystitis -- Causes and Top 10
Natural Remedies
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Last updated November 1, 2017, originally published October 12, 2011

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

Are you desperate to pee and do you feel a burning, stinging
sensation when you go? Have you had rough sex or
prolonged sex? You may be experiencing an attack of a
condition called "cystitis".  Cystitis is a specific type of
bladder tract infection. If the bladder infection is caused by
bacteria, it is called a urinary tract infection.  

In the United States, cases of cystitis are growing --- fast.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that in
2006 (the last year for which data is available), over 12% of
American women had early symptoms of cystistis. Since the
latest census showed that there are over 155 million women
in the US, that translates into over 18 million women in the
US with cystitis symptoms.

And the news is not that different across the pond in the UK.
According to the UK's National Health Service, almost all
(100%) of women will have cystitis at least once in their

What's going on here? What is causing this epidemic of
Why are older women the fastest growing group
with cystitis?
What are the symptoms and causes of cystitis?
And are there any natural remedies for cystitis that you can
rely on?

A bout of cystitis may not be life-threatening.  But, left
untreated, certain types of bacterial cystitis can become quite
serious. And even milder cases of cystistis can be extremely
annoying, painful and uncomfortable.

Cystitis is an inflammation of your bladder, and is classed as
a bladder or urinary tract infection.  Is there anything you
can do to prevent cystitis? What exactly are the symptoms of
cystitis? And what, if any, natural remedies exist to help

Symptoms of Cystitis

Cystitis causes a strong and persistent need to pee and a
burning sensation when you urinate. When you visit the
bathroom you may pass very small amounts of urine, but
you’ll need to go more often.

Blood may be present in the urine, and your
urine may be
cloudy or strong-smelling. In addition to symptoms
concerning urination, you may have discomfort in the pelvic
area, pressure or pain in the lower abdomen and possibly a
fever. (Read more about
the color of your urine and what it

What Are the Causes of Cystitis?

Cystitis has many causes, and the different types of cystitis
can be classified into bacterial and non-bacterial cystitis.

Read on for the roll-call of cystitis offenders:

Non-Bacterial Cystitis

Interstitial Cystitis
: According to the Interstitial Cystitis
Association more than four million people in the US have
"interstitial cystitis", which is characterized by recurring pain
and discomfort in the pelvis and bladder area along with
increased urinary frequency and urgency. Interstitial cystitis
is a chronic condition and no one really knows why it occurs.
The average age for suffering interstitial cystitis is 40, with
25% of cases occurring under the age of 30.

Traumatic Cystitis--"Honeymoon Cystitis": Traumatic cystitis
is caused by trauma, irritation or bruising to the bladder.
Traumatic cystitis is often caused by forceful or intense
sexual intercourse ("rough sex"), leading to its moniker
“honeymoon cystitis”.

Traumatic cystitis can often lead to a subsequent case of
bacterial cystitis.

Why is cystitis increasing in America? The answer may
surprise you.

In 1998, doctors in Georgia published a letter in the New
England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Henry M. Patton and his
colleagues in Covington, Georgia had noticed a spike in the
number of older women --between age 55 and 75 --who
were experiencing burning while urinating, a common
symptom usually only reported in women half their age.

After further investigation, the doctors discovered that each
of the women had a husband who was also taking Viagra!  
The increase in cystitis among women over 55 was caused
by prolonged sexual activity from Viagra use.

It's fair to say that the growing epidemic of cystitis is an
unintended downside of Viagra.


Post-menopausal women are also at increased risk for
urinary tract infections because of pelvic prolapse, lack of
estrogen, loss of lactobacilli in the natural vaginal floral
environment, increased periurethral colonisation by
Escherichia coli (E. coli), and a higher rates of diabetes
mellitus, according to a 2004 study led by researchers from
Northwest Health Services Research and Development
Program in Seattle, Washington.]

Hemorrhagic Cystitis: Hemorrhagic cystitis is commonly
caused by medications, in particular, cancer treatments, as
the chemotherapy drugs exit your body. According to a 1994
study by Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington
University School of Medicine, St. Louis, cystitis occurred in
6.5 percent of 1,784 patients treated with radiotherapy for
cancer of the cervix.

Chemical Cystitis: You may be over-sensitive to the chemicals
in certain cosmetics, spermicides, and feminine hygiene
products which can cause irritation and inflammation in the
bladder, resulting in cystitis.

One chemical which has causes an epidemic of cystitis is
"ketamine", according to a 2007 study from St. Michael's
Hospital and the University of Toronto. Ketamine is used as
an anestheic in medical procedures but recently has become
a drug that is increasingly abused.

Foreign-body Cystitis: The long-term use of catheters can
cause bacterial infections, tissue damage, inflammation and

Other cystitis culprits include drinks and foods that make the
urine more acidic, leading to bladder irritation; tight clothing;
dehydration; holding onto your urine for too long, or not
emptying your bladder completely. All these conditions can
irritate and inflame the bladder.

Bacterial Cystitis

According to 2010 research from Royal Prince Alfred
Hospital, New South Wales, Australia one in three women
will develop bacterial cystitis during their lifetime.

Bacterial cystitis occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract
and multiply in the bladder. Bacteria may enter the bladder
during sexual intercourse. Most bacterial cystitis cases are
caused by the Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria.


Bacteria can easily be introduced into the urinary tract,
especially if you wipe in the wrong direction. You should
always wipe after defecating from front to back, never from
back to front.]

Who Suffers From Cystitis?

Cystitis is much more common in women than men. Women
have a short urethra, the tube connecting the bladder to the
outside of the body, and the opening is close to the anus.
Bacteria can more easily travel from the anus to the urethra.
Sexually active women are more likely to suffer from cystitis,
as are pregnant women. Men can also suffer from cystitis but
the condition is less common in men.

Is Cystitis Dangerous?

Cystitis is annoying and it can be painful but it is not usually
a serious condition. However, if a bladder infection spreads
to your kidneys it can cause a serious kidney infection. See a
doctor if you also have fever and chills, nausea and vomiting,
and intense back or side pain.

Cystitis can be treated successfully with antibiotics. But there
are alternative treatments. We’ve looked at recent scientific
research to see which cystitis remedies are most effective.

Top 10 Remedies for Cystitis

1. Cranberry Juice for Treating Cystitis

Top of the list for cystitis prevention and treatment is the
sharp and tart cranberry. Cranberries help acidify the urine
but they also prevent bacteria from attaching itself to the
walls of your bladder. A 2008 study from the University of
Stirling in Scotland looked at women who were prone to
cystitis and had them drink a mixture of cranberry and
loganberry juice - between 30ml (1 ounce) and 300ml (10
ounces) of juice a day.

Of the women who drank cranberry juice, only 16 percent
experienced cystitis in the following six months. Out of those
that didn’t drink cranberry juice, 40 percent got an infection.

A 2008 study from the Department of General Practice,
Edinburgh University, UK reviewed 10 studies into the power
of cranberry juice and tablets compared to placebo, and
found the cranberries reduced the number of urinary tract
infections by 35 percent over a 12-month period.
Cranberries were most effective on people with recurrent
infections. And a 1994 study (Avorn J, Monane M, Gurwitz
JH, et al) in the Journal of the American Medical Federation
tested cranberry juice on 153 women over a period of six
months. Researchers found cranberry juice significantly
reduced levels of bacteria in the urine.

If you don’t like the taste of cranberry juice, try dried
cranberry capsules or a cranberry supplement. A 2002 study
from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
found both cranberry juice and cranberry tablets
significantly decreased the number of bladder infections
experienced by patients each year.

Arginine Is a Cystitis Remedy?

Arginine is an amino acid and this substance assists the body
in making nitric oxide. Nitric oxide may not sound very
friendly, but it helps relax smooth muscles like the ones
found in the bladder. So can we count arginine as a cystitis-
friendly remedy? Not according to a 1999 study from Yale
University School of Medicine. This research found only weak
supporting evidence for arginine as a cystitis treatment.
Another very small 2000 study from St James's University
Hospital, Leeds, UK didn’t find particularly promising results
– the study demonstrated that arginine was no more
effective at treating cystitis than placebo.

Quercetin Can Help Cure Cystitis

Continue reading        page 1        page 2

Related Links: Bladder Infections-Causes and Cures/
Urine Color Chart -What It Means / / How Much Is Too
Much Salt? /Sugar-The Disease Connection / Are Diet Sodas
Bad for Your Health? / Ideal Breakfast for Diabetics / Ideal
Breakfast for Arthritis /Healing Foods Links /  Foods That
Shrink Your Waist / Foods That Lower Cholesterol/ VLDL-
The Other Cholesterol/ Foods That Reduce Blood Pressure

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