Cystitis, more popularly known as bladder infection, develops when disease-causing bacteria gains entry in the urethral tract and makes it way up the bladder. Both men and women are equally susceptible to bladder infection. However women have higher chances of developing them than men. The main rationale behind is the fact that women feature shorter urethral canals, which makes it easy for microscopic bacteria to infect the bladder altogether.
Other predisposing factors for developing cystitis are as follows:
– Surgical procedures of the urinary tract
– Urinary catheter placement
– Abnormalities in the urinary tract
– Narrow urethral canal
– Bowel incontinence
– Diabetes mellitus
– Enlarged prostate gland
Some of the most common symptoms associated with bladder infections are:
– Foul-smelling urine
– Burning sensation when urinating
– Low back pain
– Low abdominal pain
– Urinary frequency
– Blood in urine
There preventive measures which are proven to lower the risk of developing bladder infection. Simple dietary and lifestyle changes significantly reduce the risk, and even promotes healthy urinary tract too.
In this article, we will be listing down ten most effective ways on how you can prevent cystitis or bladder infection.
1. Observe good hygiene
Implementing excellent hygiene is key to keeping your bladder and the rest of the urinary tract in great shape. Good hygiene not only helps in preventing infection, but it further boosts one’s overall health too.
– After using the toilet, it is ideal to wipe clean the region from front to back motion. This technique of cleaning prevents the germs from the anal region gaining access to the urethra. Remember to use toilet paper once. If you feel that you need to wipe the area more than once, use another tissue instead.
– Try not to use douches, harsh soaps, and deodorants in the vaginal area. These products contain harsh chemicals that alter the normal flora of the vaginal region.
– Instead of using tampons, try using sanitary pads instead.
– Instead of soaking on a tub, shower daily instead. For those who still prefer taking a soak in the tub, make sure not to use bubbly or soapy products.
– After taking a bath, you need to pat dry the vaginal region with a soft, clean towel instead of rubbing motion. The rubbing technique of cleaning the area may cause irritation, leading to infection.
– Make sure to clean your bathroom regularly. If using the toilet in public places make sure to use clean bathrooms only, so as to lower your chances of developing infection from sitting down dirty, contaminated toilet bowls.
2. Increase fluid intake
Drinking up to 2 liters of way daily significantly reduces the risk of bladder infections.
Increased intake of water is beneficial in two ways:
– It facilitates the elimination or flushing out of disease-causing bacteria that have successfully entered the bladder.
– Helps in the production of more dilute urine, thus promoting easy and pain-free urination.
– Drink at least 2 liters of water throughout the day.
– Include all-natural smoothies and fresh fruit shakes as part of your fluid intake.
– Soups and broths are also recommended as part of your increased fluid intake diet plan.
For those suffering from kidney problems, it may be best to consult your doctor first before increasing your fluid intake.
3. Empty bladder when needed
One of the most common causes of bladder infection is keeping a full bladder for long periods of time. If you delay the urge to expel urine from the bladder, you have higher chances of developing an infection. In addition, holding your urine for a long time places intense pressure on the kidneys that can then lead to serious kidney problems. Failure to empty the bladder right away increases the chances of bacterial growth.
To successfully lower the chances of developing bladder infection, empty the bladder as needed.
– Immediately go to the bathroom once you feel the urge to urinate. When urinating, make sure to completely empty the bladder.
– For women, it is recommended to urinate immediately after sexual intercourse. This measure allows for the flushing out of the bacteria away from the urinary tract.
4. Be more cautious when using birth control devices
Although beneficial and effective, there are certain types of contraceptive methods that increase a woman’s risk of developing cystitis. For instance, the diaphragm and spermicides that feature nonoxynol-9 are known to increase the risk for infection.
Studies reveal that a diaphragm slow down the flow of urine going out the urethral tract, which in turn allows for the fast proliferation of bacteria in the bladder. On the other hand, spermicides that feature nonoxynol-9 are harsh thus they are known to cause skin irritation and increased bacterial growth.
There are also birth control pills from different brands that reduce estrogen levels. One of estrogen’s functions is to keep the vaginal region healthy. An unhealthy vaginal region can contribute to the development of yeast infections as well as chronic urinary tract problems. Make sure to discuss this health concern with your doctor, so you can be prescribed with safe but effective pills instead.
5. Drink apple cider vinegar with water
One easy way of eliminating the risk of developing cystitis is by drinking apple cider vinegar daily. This powerful ingredient was shown to have excellent antimicrobial properties with dual action- to treat and prevent bladder infections. Lastly, apple cider vinegar helps in keeping the pH balance in check.
– Mix one to two tablespoons of raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a glass of water.
– Add a small amount of raw honey to the mixture for added taste.
– Drink this healthy concoction at least twice daily to prevent bladder infections.
6. Immune-boosting diet
In order to fight off bacteria and other disease-causing microorganisms, you need to make sure that your immune system is in excellent condition. Therefore, it is only logical to increase immune system function to avoid developing bladder infection.
– Begin your day by drinking one glass of lemon water.
– Green tea is an excellent immune-boosting drink that you can consume at least twice a day.
– Before going to bed, make sure to drink a glass of warm turmeric milk.
– Vitamin C-rich foods are excellent immune system boosters. Add more C-rich food items in your diet such as cranberry juice, kiwi, bell peppers, broccoli, and sprouts to name a few.
– You should include Vitamin D supplementation too. Food items rich in vitamin D are as follows: cheese, egg yolks, mackerel, salmon,, and organs meats.
– Garlic and ginger enhance immune system function so make sure to include them in your next food preparation.
7. Smoking cessation
Tobacco use not decreases one’s ability to fight off bacterial infection but it is also a predisposing factor to developing bladder cancer. The harmful chemicals found in tobacco greatly compromise the anti-bacterial role of leukocytes.
Go cold turkey and quit smoking and tobacco altogether, to reduce your chances of developing bladder infection. Secondhand smoke also delivers the same level of risk so do make sure to stay way from polluted places or from people smoking.
8. Choose sensible clothing pieces
The way you dress is also determines whether you are at risk of developing bladder infection. Breathable fabrics such as cotton and chiffon allow the skin to breathe. Light fabrics do not promote the development of moisture. Bear in mind that moisture inspires the proliferation of bacteria, thus making smart, sensible clothing choices help avoid bladder infections.
– To lower the chances of bacterial invasion and infection, make sure to wear loose fitted skirts and trousers. These clothing pieces promote air circulation too.
– Tight fitting jeans restrict airflow, thus promoting the development of moisture and heat in the inguinal area. These elements may contribute to speedy growth of bacteria, leading to infection.
– Make sure to keep good hygiene by changing your underwear daily. Cotton underwear is highly recommended as it lets the skin breathe in the vaginal region. Wash your undergarments in warm water and mild detergent so you can avoid skin irritation.
– When swimming in a pool or at the beach, make sure to dry yourself quickly after to avoid moisture development- an element leading to skin irritation and infection.
9. Avoid food items that trigger bladder infection
There are certain food items that stimulate or inspire bacterial growth. In addition, if you are more likely to develop bladder infection due to your genetic predisposition, bear in mind to avoid the following food items that may irritate and infect the urinary tract:
– Sweet and sugary foods should be avoided. Artificial sweeteners should also be avoided too.
– Lessen your consumption of spicy foods.
– Alcoholic beverages such as liquor, beer, and wine irritate the bladder as they contain compounds that promote dehydration.
– Drinks that contain high levels of caffeine such as tea and coffee are bad especially if you have a history of bladder infection.
– Carbonate beverages are a big no-no as they contain high levels of caffeine as well.
10. Probiotic Yogurt
This is one of the very few food items that are highly recommended by medical experts to prevent bladder infection. The consumption of probiotic yogurt helps in maintaining the normal flora in the vaginal region. These good bacteria help in fighting the foreign bacteria that enter the urethra. Lastly, probiotic yogurt promotes healthy pH level and boost immune system function too.