Symptoms of a bladder infection
A burning pain when urinating, cramps in the lower abdomen and a strong urge to urinate, even though there is little urine in the bladder, are typical symptoms of an acute bladder infection. Although the symptoms are unpleasant and painful, an infection is usually harmless and is easy to treat with natural home remedies.
What to do in the event of a bladder infection? Drink plenty.
At the first hint of a bladder infection, raise your liquid consumption to 2-3 litres per day. Drinking plenty of fluids can flush the bacteria responsible for the urinary tract infection out of the bladder. Special bladder and kidney teas are beneficial. Unsweetened herbal teas such as camomile tea or nettle tea and still water are also recommended. Another effective remedy are cranberry juices or extracts, as they have an anti-inflammatory effect on the mucous membranes of the urinary tract.
Beneficial home remedy: warmth
By relaxing the lower abdomen, a hot water bottle or heating pad will help relieve bladder cramps and pain in this area. A warm bath is also soothing, and the anti-inflammatory effect is enhanced with a bath additive such as tea tree oil.
Acute bladder infection: ph-neutral wash lotion
During an acute bladder infection, the genital area should be washed particularly thoroughly so that no further bacteria enter the bladder. It’s best to use gentle, pH-neutral washing lotions rather than intimate sprays and vaginal lotions, as these can impair the natural protective function of the vagina.
Swimming with an acute bladder infection
In the event of an acute bladder infection, avoid strenuous exercise and allow yourself to rest and relax. Swimming in lakes or public swimming pools is also not recommended. This could lead to more bacteria entering the bladder through the urinary tract. In addition, other people could become infected.
If the patient feels fit enough, some light sport is permitted – easy cycling, for example. Exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor can also help.
The right diet for treating a urinary tract infection
Eating the right foods helps the body treat a bladder infection and boosts the immune system at the same time. For example, foods containing mustard oils have a disinfecting and anti-inflammatory effect on the urinary tract. They are found in plants such as nasturtiums, horseradish, radishes and mustard.
Boost gut flora and prevent inflammation
By boosting the gut flora, fermented products such as sauerkraut, yoghurt and kefir help the body to recover, especially when antibiotics are being taken. At the same time, they strengthen the immune system.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which can prevent inflammation. Antioxidants include blueberries, apples, sweet potatoes, beetroot and green vegetables such as purslane, kale, broccoli and celery.
Preventing bladder infections
- The most common cause of a bladder infection is bacteria entering the bladder through the urethra. This is why it's important to always drink enough: the more fluid that flows through the urinary tract, the more the pathogens are flushed away.
- Intimate hygiene is important for both acute and recurrent bladder infections. To prevent gut bacteria from being wiped towards the opening of the urethra, women should clean themselves correctly after going to the toilet, which means wiping the urine from front to back.
- To further prevent bacteria accumulating in the urinary tract, the bladder should be completely emptied on a regular basis. This is especially important after sexual intercourse, so that bacteria that has entered the bladder is flushed out again with the urine.
- Bladder infections also often occur after (water) sports. The cause here may be hypothermia of the lower body. People susceptible to bladder infections should therefore remove wet clothing as quickly as possible and not sit on a cold surface.
When to see a doctor?
A bladder infection is usually harmless and clears up after a few days. If treatment with home remedies brings no noticeable improvement within 2 to 3 days, it’s important to see a doctor. A doctor should also be consulted in the event of fever, pain in the kidney area and reddish and/or purulent urine.