We reveal the natural remedies that will help maintain a healthy bladder…
Until it stops working properly, your bladder is one of those body parts that you rarely pay much attention to. There are a lot of issues that can arise, including painful urination, urine leakage, urinary tract infections and frequent urges to go during the day and night, so it’s important to help maintain a healthy bladder.
• Drink water
Drinking plenty of water — about six to eight glasses daily — can flush bacteria out of your urinary tract and help prevent bladder infections. “Drinking 2 litres of water each day will help to keep the urine at an appropriate pH as well as encouraging the bladder to flush out any bad bacteria regularly,” explains nutritional therapist Claire Barnes, a technical advisor for Protexin.
• Increase cranberry intake
A recent study that compiled the results of previous studies involving cranberry juice or cranberry tablets found that they reduced the occurrence of urinary tract infections and were most effective in women who had recurrent infections. Ingredients in the cranberry may keep harmful bacteria from sticking to the walls of your urinary tract.
“In more than 80% of cases urinary tract infections (UTIs) such as cystitis are caused by the overgrowth of the bacteria E. coli normally originating from the digestive system. The consumption of cranberry has long been recommended for the prevention and treatment of UTIs including cystitis,” commented Barnes.
She recommends taking a cranberry supplement opposed to drinking cranberry juice: “Most commercial cranberry juices also contain high amounts of sugar, therefore a cranberry extract in a capsule form avoids the excess sugars which can aggravate the condition further.”
Suzie Sawyer, nutritional therapist at Higher Nature, agrees: “The problem with many of the cranberry-containing drinks is that they contain a lot of sugar, which has a detrimental effect on the immune system. A good alternative is either to source an unsweetened cranberry juice or use a cranberry extract supplement. This includes cranberry in a high concentration, and is most appropriate for anyone with an actual urinary tract infection.”
Sawyer suggests “looking for a supplement containing at least 500mg of whole concentrated cranberry and taking two capsules a day.”
• Increase good gut bacteria
“With a lot of UTIs originating from a bacterial overgrowth in the gut, another recommended solution is to rebalance the gut flora with live bacteria from either fermented foods or a live bacteria product,” explains Barnes.
• Do Kegel exercises
Best known for their benefits in the bedroom, Kegels involve squeezing and relaxing the muscles of the pelvic floor, which connects via nerves to the bladder. Kegels are a good way to maintain lifelong bladder control.
• Avoid alcohol & caffeine
Avoid highly caffeinated and alcoholic drinks as they can increase bladder activity and lead to leakage. It is advised to opt for healthier options, such as water, and drink when you are thirsty.
• Avoid certain foods
Surprisingly, certain foods can make you go, too. Bladder irritants include citrus fruits, tomatoes (and tomato-based sauces), spicy foods and foods containing corn syrup. There is no specific diet that can treat overactive bladder, but you can decrease bathroom visits by limiting these foods.
• Eat fibre
Although fibre is known to prevent constipation, it also prevents an overactive bladder and incontinence. This is because constipation puts constant pressure on the bladder which means that if you prevent constipation you prevent having pressure on your bladder therefore keeping your bladder healthy. Good sources of fibre include whole-grain bread and cereals, barley, brown rice, oatmeal, beans, peas, apples, cabbage and carrots.
Supplements for support
Cranberry – encourages a healthy environment in the bladder and urinary tract. Nutritional therapist Claire Barnes, a technical advisor for Protexin, recommends Bio-Kult Pro-Cyan: “Bio-Kult Pro-Cyan is an advanced triple action formula containing cranberry extract, live bacteria (probiotics) and vitamin A, formulated to maintain a healthy urinary tract.”
Vitamin C- another route that may help prevent UTI is by regularly taking vitamin C supplements. Vitamin C increases the acidity level of urine, which in turn helps decrease the number of harmful bacteria that may be present in your urinary tract system.
Acidophilus- helps maintain a healthy environment in the urinary tract.
Garlic- helps maintain a healthy environment in the urinary tract.
D Mannose- a natural effective choice for urinary tract care. Anna Sawkins, managing director of Sweet Cures, recommends Waterfall D-Mannose: “Waterfall D-Mannose is an effective, natural, alternative product for cystitis, prostatitis and long term bladder health. It supports a healthy bladder, prostate and urinary tract, particularly against E.coli infections- which cause UTIs and cystitis. E.coli’s sticky fimbria attach like Velcro to Waterfall D-Mannose and are urinated out. “
Vitamin E- “Vitamin E is one of the most popular supplements for cystitis,” explains Sawyer, “take 400iu daily long term.”