Cystitis prevention and treatment
with herbal remedies

Few womens health issues are more common concerns than cystitis. A bladder infection (uncomplicated urinary tract infection in medical jargon)at some point in life is an almost universal experience for women. Failure to properly diagnose and treat urinary infections can be a source of kidney failure, so if there is any uncertainty, make sure to ask your doctor for a laboratory analysis of the urine and a culture. Take an antibiotic if prescribed, and then take steps to prevent the next occurence. Let me show you how to make that cystitis prevention natural and safe with herbal remedies.

Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) have both general and specific health promoting properties. Specifically, either the berries or their juice are very effective at preventing bladder infections. This is generally common knowledge, but I want to clarify some specifics which are important to make sure this strategy works. First, cranberries work to prevent urinary infections, but not to treat them. If you think you already have a bladder infection, it is too late for cranberries. Second, the cranberry compounds must be in contact with the bladder wall almost continually to be effective, so a dose every 12 hours is important. Cranberry juice works, and I suggest cranberry juice (4 ounces) rather than the juice cocktail (more sugar and water, so you need about 10 ounces), every 12 hours. We really don’t have evidence at this point for the extract in tablet form. In addition to prevention of infection, this daily use of cranberry is an excellent urinary deodorizer for people with incontinence.

The general health promoting, disease preventing qualities of cranberries are also impressive. They are packed with phytochemicals such as flavonols, catechins (similar to green tea), and anthocyanidin. These antioxidants are important in preventing oxidative damage to cells and your DNA. This is a health strategy then for reducing the likelihood of any number of chronic diseases as we age, including cancer.

To treat bladder infections, a near relative of cranberry called Uva Ursi is often effective. A dose of 1.5 to 4 grams daily seems to be about the right amount, and it is especially important to look for a product verified to contain at least 5% arbutin component in order to be effective. I do not recommend Uva Ursi for long term (greater than 14 days) use, or in children less than age 12 because of possibly toxicity from hydroquinone. But short term in adults, it is quite safe and often effective in treating cystitis.

to your health, naturally,

Robert Pendergrast, M.D.

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