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FAQ - Recurring cystitis

By Corin Evan DipION FdSc MBANT

Expert nutritionists share their frequently asked questions…

Q - "I keep suffering from bouts of cystitis, for which I occasionally need to take antibiotics. Can I help myself with diet and supplementation? I already take cranberry extract. What else can I do?"

A - Cystitis, or inflammation of the bladder, is a common complaint, particularly among women. It is often caused by bacteria, but may also be a result of irritation or bruising.

Cranberry extract can help to keep the urinary system bacteria-free and healthy. Combining this with grapefruit seed extract on a daily basis can give additional benefit.

Boosting the immune system may also assist you in staying cystitis-free. Vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and beta carotene aid immunity so try to include a wide variety of vegetables, non-citrus fruits, nuts and seeds in your diet. Alternatively, you can try taking a supplement of extra vitamin C.

Underlying recurrent cystitis is often due to an imbalance between the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria that naturally reside in the gut. In women, the proximity between the bowel and urinary tract openings mean that ‘bad’ bacteria can migrate into the urinary system very easily.

Taking antibiotics strips the bowel of its ‘good’ bacteria, encouraging ‘bad’ bacteria to flourish and, subsequently, increases the risk of bad bacteria reaching the urinary tract. Try taking a good, high strength probiotic supplement to address this and encourage re-population of the gut by good bacteria.

I would recommend that you avoid sugar, sugary foods, coffee, spicy foods and alcohol, as they can aggravate a delicate urinary system. Drink lots of water to help dilute the urine and flush away any bacteria that may be present. Finally, including liberal amounts of garlic and onions in your cooking may also be of benefit. 

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