Preventing Cystitis: A bladder infection is painful, but usually gets over quickly. Nevertheless, most women would like to do without the nasty burning sensation and the constant urge to urinate. We explain how you can prevent cystitis.
A bladder infection affects women more often than men – for anatomical reasons. The female urethra is short and its exit is in the immediate vicinity of the anus. An infection with anal bacteria that enter the urethra via the perineum is therefore not uncommon. If the defenses of the bladder are weakened, inflammation of the bladder lining can occur.
Cystitis: Prevention Instead of Treatment
Even if there is no one-size-fits-all recipe for preventing cystitis, these everyday tips can help you reduce the risk of urinary tract infections to a minimum. The effectiveness of these measures has not been scientifically proven, but many women have had good experiences with them. And: The tips are easy to implement in everyday life – and therefore worth a try!
Drink a lot:
Pay attention to your hydration. We recommend at least 1.5 to 2 liters of low-calorie drinks per day. Because this is how bacteria are flushed out of the urinary tract. It is best to drink water, fruit juice spritzers or unsweetened herbal teas. There are also special kidney and bladder teas that are supposed to support the healing of an existing cystitis. Overall, the following applies: About 1.5 liters of urine should be excreted per day.
Off to the Toilet:
If you feel an urge to urinate, try not to delay going to the bathroom. Better go right away. It is normal to urinate four to six times during the day and a maximum of once at night.
Beware of the Cold!
Make sure that your feet and abdomen do not get cold. Change wet clothes and bathing suits immediately. This is because hypothermia reduces blood flow and lowers the defenses of the bladder. Then bacteria have an easy job and can penetrate the body.
Strengthen your Immune System:
Also, strengthen your immune system. Well-functioning defenses are the best remedy against intruders such as bacteria. Get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, exercise daily and keep stress at bay, for example through relaxation techniques such as autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation.
Good Intimate Hygiene:
Intestinal bacteria are common causes of cystitis. Make sure that as few intestinal bacteria as possible get into the vagina and urethra. For example, always wipe the toilet paper from front to back after a bowel movement – this keeps intestinal bacteria away from the ureter. It is better not to use intimate sprays or vaginal douches. They disrupt the vaginal flora and disease-causing bacteria can spread more easily.
More bacteria can enter the urethra during intercourse. Therefore, go to the toilet afterwards. Urination brings the bacteria back out. Certain birth control methods can also increase the risk of developing a cystitis. Examples are spermicides, i.e. agents that kill sperm, and diaphragms. If you have urinary tract infections frequently, you should try another method of contraception.
Many women swear by cranberry products for preventing cystitis. They are available as powders, juices, capsules or tablets in pharmacies, health food stores and drug stores. However, studies have shown that cranberries cannot prevent urinary tract infections.
In the case of very frequent cystitis, antibiotics not only help as therapy, but also as a preventive measure. However, taking antibiotics has a number of disadvantages: Antibiotics have to be swallowed for a very long time – usually six to twelve months. The drugs not only attack the bacteria, but also have side effects such as indigestion, rashes or fungal infections in the vagina.
In addition, the long duration of use increases the risk of antibiotic resistance. The bacteria become more resistant to the active ingredients and ultimately common antibiotics no longer work. The advantage: you have less cystitis on average.
In menopausal women, the lining of the vagina changes due to the lack of estrogen. This makes it easier for bacteria to settle and ascend into the urinary tract – bladder infections are more common. Estrogen ointments applied topically in the vagina can protect some women from frequent bladder infections. However, the hormonal agents also cause side effects such as itching and burning in the vaginal area.
A vaccination has also been available for a number of years to protect against cystitis. The vaccine contains several inactive strains of bacteria. According to the manufacturer, the body should learn to fight the pathogens better. Oral capsules are also available on the market, which contain inactive strains of bacteria and are intended to prevent recurring cystitis. However, there has not been enough research into whether these funds and measures are effective. The statutory health insurance companies do not pay for any of the funds.