Typical signs of a bladder infection are frequent urinary urgency and burning or pain while urinating. The elimination of only small amounts of cloudy, foul smelling urine, sometimes mixed with blood, can also accompany an infection. Bacteria are normally the cause, rising through the urethra up into the bladder. Poor personal hygiene and irritation from sexual intercourse are the common culprits for introducing these germs into the urethra. Women are more often affected than men because the female urethra is shorter and its opening is closer to the anus. This allows bacteria from the intestines to more easily find their way into the urethra, vagina and bladder. While a bladder infection is not a serious health threat, if left untreated, a kidney infection could result, so its best to check with your physician. In men, a bladder infection can be a sign of a more serious problem, herbal teas and simple home remedies can help ease the discomfort.
Aromatherapy for bladder infections
Help reduce the stress of an infection with aromatherapy. Put a few drops of chamomile, juniper or sandalwood oil in your bath, or mix the oil with neutral base oil and massage it into the lower belly or the base of the spine.
What you can do?
Drink at least 2 quarts of water or tea a day to clear bacteria out of the bladder, and avoid coffee, black tea and alcohol. Heat both from tea and from heat packs, promotes blood flow in the bladder's mucous lining and wards off infection. Bed rest and meditation give the body strength to fight infection. If the problem does not improve after one or two days, if blood appears in the urine or if you have a fever of more than 101 deg F, consult a doctor.
To increase resistance
If you have frequently recurring infections, there are several ways you can boost the immune system so the mucous lining of the urinary tract can be better protected. Plant preparations that build resistance, such as Echinacea (purple coneflower) and calendula flowers, and nutritional supplements may be used. The components in cranberry juice also help discourage bacteria from adhering to the lining of the bladder. Try to drink 1 quart of unsweetened juice a day. Avoid sugar, sweets will feed bacteria and contribute to infections.
Proper intimate hygiene
With proper hygiene, women can effectively ward off bladder infections. Always cleanse the genital area from front to back, both when bathing and using the toilet. This will help you avoid transmitting germs from the anus to the opening of the urethra. However, do not overdo the hygiene. Aggressive use of soaps, intimate sprays or douches disturbs the healthy skin flora that provides natural protection from infection. Plenty of warm water and a mild, pH neutral soap are quite sufficient. Drinking a full glass of water prior to sexual activity can help induce urination promptly after intercourse. In order to wash away any pathogens that may have been introduced.
Foods for health
Include watermelon, parsley and celery in your diet. These foods act as natural diuretics and cleansers.
Proven medicinal herbs used for the treatment of urinary tract infections include uva-ursi, calendula flowers, juniper berries, goldenrod, couch grass root, horsetail and mash mallow root. They act primarily as anti-inflammatory and diuretics. At pharmacies and health stores, you can obtain various ready made bladder teas, or you can make the following tea blend yourself.
1 oz. uva-ursi leaves
1 oz. goldenrod
1 oz. calendula flowers
2 oz. marsh mallow root
1 oz. licorice root
Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tbsp. of the mixture. Steep for 10 min; strain. Drink 1 cup of the tea several times a day. Teas are much more effective than pills because the liquid comes into direct contact with the bladder and urinary passages.
Using home remedies
A sitz bath may be used to enhance circulation in the pelvis, bladder, urethra and uterus. This will relieve some of the pain and discomfort. Ideally, you should use a stiz bath tub. The water should have a temperature of about 100 deg F and reach about up top your navel. Stay in the bath for 20 min. A stiz bath that rises in temperature can be even more effective. Start with the water temperature at 91 deg F and increase it by adding hot water over te course of 20 min., until the temp. reaches 102 deg F. following the bath, rest in bed for about half an hour.
Heating pads or pouches
Heat and rest will soothe the distress of a bladder infection. Place a heating pad, or a heated pouch filled with rice or flaxseed, on your lower abdomen. The pad or pouch should be hot; but be careful not to burn yourself. Cover it with a wool blanket for about 20-25 min.. then rest for 30 min. do this 1-3 times.