Cystitis, urinary tract infections
Bladder infections are extremely common, especially amongst women. 10-15% of all women suffer with bladder infection each year. The reason for this is that women have a shorter urethra which allows bacteria to travel from the intestine more easily. In men, cystitis is less common except in older men with enlarged prostates who are no longer able to completely empty their bladders.
What are the symptoms of a bladder infection?
The main symptoms are a burning sensation when passing water, a constant urge to pass water and dark coloured urine. A bladder infection in itself is relatively harmless, but if left untreated the inflammation can travel along the urethra to the renal pelvis. The diagnosis is clear from the symptoms. If the urine is examined under a microscope, there will be an increase in white blood corpuscles (leukocytes) and bacteria.
The treatment for urinary tract infection
The standard recommended treatment is to drink plenty of fluids and to take a course of antibiotics. However, before reaching for the antibiotics, its worth trying a natural alternative. Renal and bladder teas are too weak to treat an infection. Doctors have been aware for quite some time that cranberry juice is far more effective and better still is Aronia-Extract, (e.g. Aronia Vida) because the concentration of the active ingredient is higher. The leaves of the artemisia annua plant are as effective as an antibiotic, but without the negative side effects, which is a major plus for my patients. Unfortunately, artemesia leaves are only available through specialist practitioners.