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Treatment of Non-Infectious Cystitis (Bladder Irritation)  

What can be done to treat non-infectious cystitis or interstitial cystitis?

Non-infectious cystitis is irritation (i.e., inflammation) of the bladder in the absence of a bladder infection. In women of any age, non-infectious cystitis is common.

Interstitial cystitis is chronic non-infectious cystitis (i.e., chronic inflammation of the wall of the bladder) in the absence of a bladder infection. For a discussion of causes and symptoms of non-infectious cystitis and interstitial cystitis, see our Q&A called, "Non-Infectious Cystitis (Irritation of the Bladder)."

Many methods for preventing and treating non-infectious cystitis and interstitial cystitis are available, including the following naturopathic, homeopathic, and psychological approaches:[1, 2]

• Avoid consumption of spicy and/or acidic foods (such as citrus fruits), which can irritate the lining of the bladder.
• Include phytoestrogens in your diet.
• Avoid drinking beverages such as coffee, citrus juices, carbonated beverages, and alcohol, which can irritate the lining of the bladder and cause a small amount of bleeding in the bladder to occur.
• Drink lots (at least 6 to 8 glasses per day) of water.
• Regularly either drink unsweetened cranberry juice or cranberry concentrate, eat dried cranberries, or take cranberry capsules. Cranberry can help acidify your urine. Consult your integrative medical physician for guidance on the dose that is appropriate for you.
• Regularly take supplements containing "healthy" (i.e., normal digestive) bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus.
• Take vitamin and mineral supplements containing L-arginine (an amino acid), vitamin A, vitamin C (which can help acidify the urine), calcium lactate, and zinc. Consult your integrative medical physician for guidance on the doses appropriate for you.
• Avoid using tampons, which can irritate the vaginal and urethral areas, during menstruation.
• Avoid wearing wet or tight clothing (such as spandex material or nylon underwear) that can lead to prolonged exposure to moistness in the pelvic area and can irritate the areas of the vulva (i.e., outer and inner parts of the vagina) and urethra.
• If you tend to get non-infectious cystitis or interstitial cystitis after becoming chilled, wear warm clothes when the temperature outdoors or inside buildings is cold.
• Avoid taking frequent bubble baths, which can irritate the areas of the vulva (i.e., outer and inner parts of the vagina) and urethra.
• Whenever you feel the urge to urinate, go to the bathroom and do so. Do not wait until it is "convenient" to go to the bathroom and urinate.
• To maintain a proper level of normal bacteria in the vaginal area, use a douche containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and/or Bifidobacillus bifidum once or twice each month.
• Every day, wash around the urethral opening (called the meatus) to remove secretions, followed by drying the area with a clean tissue to decrease moisture.
• Regularly apply a soothing lubricating agent (such as those containing vitamin E) to the vulva.
• Applying a small amount of natural progesterone cream twice a day to the vagina can balance your hormone levels. Consult your integrative medical physician for guidance on the dose and consideration of whether the treatment is appropriate for you.
• Just prior to having sexual intercourse, use products that provide adequate lubrication of the vagina.
• As soon as possible and within 10 minutes after having sexual intercourse, go to the bathroom and urinate. Next, use water to rinse off your genital area. Then, to promote healing of any small abrasions that could occur due to sexual intercourse, apply a small amount of pure vitamin E to the areas of your urethra, clitoris, and between your labia (lips of the vagina).
• As soon as possible and within 10 minutes after having sexual intercourse, drink 10-12 ounces of water, which will stimulate later urination.
• Perform yoga exercises that stimulate pelvic energy.
• During an episode of non-infectious cystitis or interstitial cystitis, avoid physical activities (e.g., horseback riding) that place pressure on the bladder and urethra.
• During an episode of non-infectious cystitis or interstitial cystitis, take "contrast" baths, consisting of alternating a bath containing hot water, followed by a bath containing cold water.
• During an episode of non-infectous cystitis or interstitial cystitis, drink unsweetened cranberry juice or cranberry concentrate every 1 to 2 hours, or take cranberry capsules every 1 to 2 hours. Cranberry can help acidify your urine. Consult your integrative medical physician for guidance on the dose that is appropriate for you.
• During an episode of non-infectious cystitis or interstitial cystitis, drink baking soda diluted in water until the symptoms improve. Consult your integrative medical physician for guidance on the dose that is appropriate for you.
• During an episode of non-infectious cystitis or interstitial cystitis, take a tea, tincture, or capsules containing bladder herbs such as bearberry, Bucchu, chamomile, cornsilk, marigold, marshmallow root, Oregon grape, Pipsissewa, or Uva ursi every 2 hours until the symptoms improve. Consult your integrative medical physician for guidance on the dose and selection of botanical medications that are appropriate for you.
• During an episode of non-infectious cystitis or interstitial cystitis, take aloe vera capsules to help heal the lining of the bladder.
• Take a homeopathic remedy, such as Apis mellifica, Belladonna, Berberis vulgaris, Cantharis, Cascarilla, Causticum, Mercuris corrosivus, Mercuris vivus, Platinum metallicum, Sarsparilla, or Staphysagria. Consult a homeopath, a healthcare professional experienced in the use of homeopathic remedies, for guidance on the dose and selection of a homeopathic remedy appropriate for you.
• With the help of a counselor or psychologist, explore any negative attitudes that you may have towards your relationship with a romantic partner.

Consult your integrative medical physician or gynecologist for guidance on prevention and treatment of non-infectious cystitis and interstitial cystitis.

If you are a post-menopausal woman and the naturopathic, homeopathic, and psychological approaches described previously, do not resolve your symptoms of non-infectious cystitis or interstitial cystitis, consult your integrative medical physician or gynecologist for consideration
of use of prescription medications including estrogen.

REFERENCES

1. I Ikenze. Menopause & Homeopathy: A Guide for Women in Midlife. 1998. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

2. J. Reichenberg-Ullman. Whole Woman Homeopathy. 2004. Edmonds, WA: Picnic Point Press.



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