What is cystitis?
Symptoms of cystitis include:
- Lower abdominal pain
- An urgency to go to the loo – although often there isn’t much urine passed
- Difficulty urinating
- Pain on urinating
- Often cloudy pee
- Often a unique sweet smell to the urine
- Sometimes blood in the urine – either visible or if tested
NOTE: if fever develops accompanied by loin pain this suggests the infection has spread up the ureters into the kidneys (acute pyelonephritis) – THIS IS SERIOUS AND A DOCTOR SHOULD BE SEEN.
What causes cystitis?
Often it is a bacterial infection of the lower urinary tract, the most common bacteria are: Escherichia Coli, Proteus and Enterococcus species. In my own clinic I often find candida might also be present.
Sometimes, medical tests can find no trace of bacteria, in these cases it might be due to stress (irritable-bladder).
Who gets cystitis?
- Generally, women rather than men, because they have a shorter urether
- Women in a new sexual relationship, termed “honey-moon cystitis”. Conventionally this is believed to be because of the stress intercourse places on the uretha
- Mums-to-be in pregnancy
- Young children who wear nappies
- Post-menopausal women, because of the change to the urethral lining that occurs after menopause
- Anyone with a catheter
- Those with diabetes
- The elderly – male or female – “UTI” urinary tract infection
Conventional treatment for cystitis
Generally cystitis will clear within 4-9 days, of it's own accord. However, you should see your GP if:
- This is your first experience of cystitis
- Symptoms don't clear with a few days
- Your symptoms are extreme, ie. mean you are bed-bound
- It's recurrent
- Your child is suffering with these symptoms
If you visit a doctor, will be advised to drink loads of water.
Commonly a urine test is taken to identify bacteria, if it is found, the GP may prescribe an antibiotic, depending on the severity of your symptoms.
If you get recurring cystitis you may be given a stand-by antibiotic, to be taken with the next flare up, or continuous antibiotics to try to keep it away.
Obviously if the cause of symptoms is stress or a non-bacterial cause antibiotics will not be prescribed.
How do I treat cystitis?
Muscle test / kinesiology for cystitis
I will muscle test to determine whether there is bacteria, candida, or any other pathogens.
If any pathogens test positive I will treat with frequency therapy – this generally clears the pathogen by the end of the treatment session - tested kinesthetically. (Although it can come back within a short time).
I will muscle test for food intolerances which might exacerbate your symptoms, these may include: coffee, alcohol, chocolate, anything with sugar in it, spicy food, or other "heating" foods.
Sometimes I suggest supplements – eg. D-Mannose, based on a positive muscle test.
Acupuncture for cystitis
Cystitis symptoms in Chinese Medicine are described as "Damp-Heat" or "Damp-Cold", this results from the body not being as strong as it could be, so treatment is to clear the symptoms (ie. the Damp, Heat or Cold), while strengthening the underlying deficiency, which strengthens the immune system and helps calm any anxiety or other stress.
It can be highly effective - with symptoms relieved from the beginning to the end of treatment.
EFT for cystitis
EFT can focus on the physical symptoms eg. burning, itching, etc and/or the stress of any emotional issues going on before or during the onset of the symptoms. Louise Hay, suggests emotional causes might be: anxiety. Holding on to old ideas. Fear of letting go. Being pissed off. (You can heal your life, 1996)
In my experience this combination of Kinesiology, Acupuncture, Frequency Therapy and EFT is highly effective for cystitis.
The British Acupuncture Council fact sheet on cystitis is quoted below:
There is little published clinical data on the effects of acupuncture for cystitis. Two controlled trials in Norway with positive results have indicated that acupuncture may be a worthwhile alternative in the prevention of frequently recurring cystitis in women (Aun 1998; Alraek 2002)
Acupuncture may help in the treatment of cystitis by:
- Reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kim 2008, Kavoussi 2007, Zijstra 2003);reducing pain and swelling (Lorenzini 2010)
- Improving bladder irritation by inhibition of capsaicin-sensitive C-fibre activation (Hino 2010).
Naomi Coleman's, MailOnline article on her experience of cystitis resolution through acupuncture
Each case is slightly different, so to discuss your symptoms further call 020 7370 4693 or email.
A case study from my clinic
Annabel, 24. Symptoms: cystitis
Annabel came to see me at her wits end, totally overwhelmed that she constantly suffered with cystitis. She’s had loads of courses of antibiotics, but no sooner than she'd finished them, her cystitis would often come back again – the last round of antibiotics didn’t have any effect at all. It was affecting her relationship and her job.
We followed the treatment outlined using kinesiology, acupuncture, frequency therapy and EFT, and by the end of the first treatment her symptoms had disappeared. She came for about 6-weekly treatments, in the first week the symptoms would “almost" return by the following week – smelly pee, and the odd tweak, but emotionally she was feeling much better. Treating weekly for a few weeks reduced her stress levels, built up her immune system, her energy levels, and ensured the pathogens were cleared.
She continues to come monthly to stay in good health, or more regularly during high stress times. If she's "burnt the candle at both ends" or got really upset about something, she might get the odd tweak of symptoms, but nothing that can’t be resolved.
Lifestyle advice for cystitis
Drink lots of water - even though it may be counter-intuitive - because it's painful to pee. It's actually less painful if urine is diluted, and ultimately will help symptoms.
You could try adding 1 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate to a pint of water, before drinking, which might help by alkalising the urine. (Although it may have a mild purgative effect).
Some recommend cranberry juice, this can be helpful if the cause is bacterial, because of it's ant-bacterial properties, but avoid cranberry juice with sugar. It tends to be better at keeping cystitis at bay, rather than clearing the symptoms once it's started.
- Try avoiding:
- Spicy foods
Sometimes damp forming:
Sometimes avoiding high acid foods:
- Generally, a warm bath may be beneficial
- Avoid sex for a few days, till symptoms subside
- Try having a wee before and after sex to avoid symptom on-set
- Maintain your personal hygiene, particularly following intercourse
Stress reducing tips
If your symptoms come on, or are worse for stress - which is common in my experience.
- Get good rest, at least 8 hours a night, the more before midnight the better
- Take a walk in nature: the countryside or a park
- Try yoga, Qi Gong or Tai Chi
- Engage your creativity: painting, playing an instrument, taking pictures, creative writing (start with a journal)
- Avoid over obsessing about emails, texts and the internet
- Anything to provide balance to counteract a busy life
Ask yourself, what do I do to relax? I hope you have an answer! If so, make time for it. If not - play and find out.
- D-Mannose is highly effective, take with a "sense" of on-set of symptoms, and increase the dose if it develops into cystitis
- Cranberry juice extract supplements - see if they help you, although I've found limited benefit