Infections of the bladder, urethra and kidneys are known as urinary tract infections (UTIs). Because the urethra is so close to the anus in females, women experience UTIs twice as often as men. UTIs must be treated promptly as they can cause permanent damage to the urinary tract. An infection in the bladder is called cystitis, while pyelonephritis is a more serious infection located in the kidneys. Urine tests are often used to diagnose UTIs, but women are prone to symptoms of UTIs without the presence of bacteria in the urine. Interstitial cystitis is one such condition, affecting more than one million North Americans. The continual inflammation from the infection results in a shrunken bladder that causes frequent urination and pain that can interfere with sexual activity and may lead to depression.
UTIs involve more frequent urination, with associated pain and burning. Urine may be darker or contain blood and have an odor. Fever or flu-like symptoms are common, and pain in the lower back often accompanies a kidney infection.
Most UTIs are caused by bacteria that have transferred from the anus or vagina to the urethra. Some known risks are antibiotic use, stress, sexual contact, oral contraceptives, diaphragms, diabetes, a weakened immune system or hormonal imbalances during menopause. Candida overgrowth is another factor, as are parasites.
Interstitial cystitis is a chronic inflammation of the urinary bladder lining and the bladder muscle. While there is no bladder autoantigen that has been identified, it is similar enough to lupus and coincides often enough with it and other autoimmune disorders that it is discussed in the field of autoimmunity. Predominantly a female affliction, only 10 percent of interstitial cystitis cases occur in men.
It is much more rare, but not out of the question, that children can be afflicted with interstitial cystitis. Because it is primarily thought of as an adult disease, there is little research done on its effects on children.
In some cases, the disease can begin before children are able to talk, making diagnosis that much more difficult and unlikely.
The early symptom of interstitial cystitis is frequent urination, day or night. In severe cases urination can be necessary 60 times in a day. Eventually the need to urinate becomes urgent; there may be blood in the urine and pain or spasms of the abdomen, urethra or vagina. Inflammation reduces the capacity of the bladder, and the bladder wall sports scars and hemorrhaged punctures (or “angry scratches”). Sexual activity for both men and women may be curtailed because it is too painful. The lifetime implications for the sex life and the chronic pain can lead to depression ranging from moderate to severe and have led to suicide. Other symptoms may be present such as migraines, joint or muscle pain, gastrointestinal problems or allergies.
The cause of interstitial cystitis is unknown. It can appear as a symptom of lupus or endometriosis and be aggravated by food allergies, diet or lifestyle choices.
PRESCRIPTION FOR HEALTH RECOMMENDED FOR THOSE WITH UTIs
Urinate when your body tells you to. Don’t wait – this increases the likelihood of infection.
Wear cotton underwear.
Use NatraCare unbleached panty liners, pads and tampons instead of the bleached type commonly sold.
Position yourself on top during intercourse to reduce the amount of bacteria being pushed into the urethra.
Urinate immediately after intercourse.
Do not use douches.
Take 500mg daily of Goldenseal standardized for Berberine content; Antibacterial; inhibits bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall
A three to fourteen day course of antibiotics may be prescribed for the treatment of UTIs, yet some researchers believe that natural treatments should be tried first, and only if fever and pain persist for several days should antibiotic therapy be prescribed.
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