The Top 4 Home Remedies For a Bladder Infection
Written by Hammad Sadiq
Read on to find out the answers to some commonly asked questions such as:
* What is the difference between a bladder infection and a UTI?
* Are there ways to treat my bladder infection at home?
* How do I know if it’s something more serious?
What is a Bladder Infection (Cystitis)?
Your bladder is like a sac, and its main role is to store urine. It’s essentially like a balloon, expanding when it’s full and relaxing when you empty it. When bacteria, such as e.coli, enters the bladder, it can easily multiply and this causes inflammation, otherwise known as Cystitis or a bladder infection.
You may hear the terms bladder infection and UTI used interchangeably, and whilst cystitis is a type of lower urinary tract infection, it is specific to the bladder and different from other types of UTI such as a kidney infection, for example.
Men and women have fairly different anatomies when it comes to the urethra, the tube which connects the bladder to the outside. Due to women having a shorter urethra, it’s much easier for bacteria to travel up to the bladder, and thus the risk of infection is higher.
View our full range of cystitis treatments
What are the Symptoms of a Bladder Infection?
The most common symptoms to look out for in adults include:
* Having a strong and constant urge to urinate
* A strange burning sensation when passing urine
* Strong smelling or cloudy looking urine
* Discomfort in your pelvis or lower abdomen
A child with cystitis may present with some of the following symptoms:
* Pain in their tummy
* Needing to pee urgently and often
* A high fever of 38C (100.4F) or above
* Reduced appetite or vomiting
However, it’s important to note that sometimes a person with cystitis may not present any symptoms, or may only have one or two of these. Especially in the case of infants or children, the above symptoms may indicate other serious complications to so it’s important not to self diagnose. Further information on symptoms can be found here.
Is it Possible to Treat a Bladder Infection at Home?
Cystitis is usually not serious and will generally clear up on its own within 3-4 days. Non- pregnant women who have had cystitis before are recommended to treat at home or seek advice from a pharmacist. So what are some tried and tested ways to treat cystitis at home?
While these top 5 home remedies may not be clinically proven, some people swear by them for cystitis treatment and prevention, so they’re always worth a try:
1) Cranberry Juice
This is probably the most popular one you’ll come across as a time-weathered home remedy for UTI’s.
Cranberry juice is said to lower the acidity of your urine so whilst it won’t treat your cystitis, many people claim to have reduced symptoms when drinking cranberry juice. However, make sure to buy the pure cranberry juice, and not the high sugar content ‘juice drink’ variety as this could actually make symptoms worse.
2) Fluids, Fluids, and More Fluids
Water seems to be the solution for everything, however, for cystitis, it’s one of the primary home remedies. Plenty of water will mean your bladder is working efficiently and that bacteria is essentially being flushed out as your bladder fills and empties. It’s also completely safe and great for your skin and other organs!
3) Vitamin C
You may have heard about the wonderful benefits of vitamin C on skin and eyes, but you may not know that getting plenty of vitamin C can actually limit bacterial growth and increase immune function to help with cystitis. You can take vitamin C in a readily available supplement form, however getting it through your diet is best, and it’s not just lemons and oranges which contain high levels of vitamin C, bell peppers and leafy greens are also abundant forms of Vitamin C.
4) Hot Water Bottle
You can’t go wrong with a cuddle with your hot water bottle when you’re feeling unwell, and in the case of cystitis, holding it to your tummy or between your thighs will help to reduce the discomfort associated with a bladder infection.
I’ve Tried the Home Remedies- Is There Anything Else Available?
Cystitis which can’t be treated at home may need to be treated with prescription medication such as Trimethoprim, which you can get here via our online doctor service. This works by reducing the bacterial growth in the urinary tract which is causing the infection.
When is it Advisable to see a GP about a Bladder Infection?
Whilst Cystitis is fairly common in women, If you’re a man, pregnant woman or have a child who presents with cystitis symptoms, we’d encourage you to see the GP as it’s less common in these groups and may be considered more serious. The GP may wish to speak to you about other symptoms you’re having, your medical history and may perform a quick urine test to determine whether or not you need to take a course of antibiotics.
NHS – NHS Choices Conditions – Cystitis. Available: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cystitis/. Last accessed January 2019
BUPA- Health Information- Cystitis.Available: https://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/urinary-bladder-problems/cystitis. Last accessed January 2019
The information contained in this article is not a substitute for personalised medical advice. Should you have any concerns about your health please speak to your pharmacist or doctor.