Cystitis: Therapy without Antibiotics

Constant urge to urinate, burning when urinating and pain are typical symptoms of a bladder infection (cystitis). Which therapies help with urinary tract infections?

A bladder infection can be acute or chronic. Young women, pregnant women, and women going through menopause primarily suffer from cystitis. In men, the infectious disease is rather rare.

Cause of cystitis

Women are particularly affected because their urethra is shorter (about 4 centimeters long) than that of men (about 20 centimeters long). And the urethra and the anus are closer together in women. As a result, beneficial gut bacteria, often Escherichia coli (E. coli), can easily get into the bladder. If they attach themselves to the mucosal wall there, it can lead to a bladder infection.

This is favored by the following factors:

  • Hormone changes caused by pregnancy or menopause
  • drinking too little
  • weakened immune system (e.g. due to stress)
  • hypothermia
  • wrong intimate hygiene
  • frequent sexual intercourse

Fungi, viruses, or parasites (e.g. worms) can also trigger a bladder infection. But this is rarely the case.

How bladder infections develop

Urinary tract infections are usually triggered by bacteria that come from your own intestinal flora or vaginal flora. They enter the urethra and travel up into the bladder. In a healthy body, defenses prevent unwanted bacteria from settling in the urethra or bladder. The protective layer in the blistered skin becomes porous as a result of frequent antibiotic therapies. This enables the bacteria to dock. In the fight against the bacteria, the bladder wall swells and becomes inflamed.

Symptoms of cystitis

A bladder infection can occur acutely or keep recurring, i.e. become chronic. Typical signs of a bladder infection are:

  • Constant urge to urinate: Those affected have to go to the toilet even with the smallest amount of urine.
  • Burning pain occurs, especially when urinating.
  • The urine is often cloudy and has a strong smell. There may be blood in the urine.
  • Problems holding the urine and cramping pains in the lower abdomen are also typical of cystitis.

Diagnosis: How cystitis is diagnosed

If you suspect a bladder infection, your doctor will ask you to take a urine sample. If the urine is cloudy and smells bad, this indicates an infection, because urine is normally clear. A urine strip test provides further information. For example, the value of the white blood cells (leukocytes) is determined. If this is increased, the immune system is already activated to fight inflammation in the body. Nitrite indicates a strong bacterial infestation. In the case of mild symptoms and a clear result, this test is sufficient for the diagnosis.

If bladder infections keep coming back, but also if there is fever, blood in the urine, or severe pain in the abdomen and kidney area, a blood test is usually carried out. A cystoscopy can also exclude other causes such as a bladder tumor.

What helps with a bladder infection?

If you want to cure bladder infections without antibiotics, there is a water cure as an immediate measure at the first sign and vaccination in the case of frequent infections.

  • Water cure: To do this, first dissolve a few spoonfuls of baking soda in water, a well-known household remedy for baking. Baking soda relieves burning when urinating. For a water cure, drink a large glass of clear water every 15 minutes, totaling three to four liters in a few hours. Baking soda is basic and changes the acidity of urine. This prevents some bacteria from multiplying. The water flushes out the pathogens before they become established.
  • Drink a lot: In the case of a bladder infection, it is particularly important to ensure that you drink plenty of fluids. Kidney and bladder teas are well suited. They contain, for example, bearberry leaves or horsetail: herbs that have an antibacterial effect.
  • Vaccination: Those who suffer from frequent urinary tract infections can be vaccinated. Before that, the urologist will check whether the last bladder infection has completely healed. Only then can the body build up its own defenses. The vaccine consists of different killed bacteria. The body reacts to this by producing certain proteins. These then cause the body’s own defenses to kill the bacteria. The vaccination causes the protective layer of the bladder wall to gradually regenerate.
  • Herbal Anti-Inflammatory Remedies: According to studies, mustard oil glycosides help fight inflammation. Preparations made from nasturtium and horseradish have proven themselves.
  • Avoid residual urine in the bladder: The bladder is not round but tubular. When urinating, it is often kinked so that the urine does not drain completely. The residual urine is a constant risk of infection.

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