What happens when we have recurring cystitis for months and, after another appointment with the urologist, we return home with not one, not two, but with three tips (and a six-month prescription for antibiotics grrrrrrr)…
Tip # 1: the alkaline diet
It is true that this diet is very “fashionable” and many people say that they follow it (more or less, of course). I think this diet is basically “healthy” (followed in a smart and non-extremist way) since it is based on the consumption of fruits, vegetables and cereals and tries to reduce sugars and excess of animal protein.
What is TRUE:
– in case of cystitis, the lining of the bladder is irritated by pathogenic bacteria. These lst have small hooks that allow them to hang on the bladder wall (these hooks cause irritation of the mucous membrane). Each bacterium has hundreds of these hooks. During a urinary tract infection there are sometimes millions of bacteria per ml of urine. Irritation thenquickly turns into inflammation of the wall = the leading cause of frequent pain and urinary urgency
– following this diet can, to some extent, help to maintain a slightly alkaline urine pH
– less acidic (more alkaline) urine means less “aggressive” to the irritated mucosa of the bladder which contributes to “soften” the pain in case of cystitis
=> therefore, this diet is a good idea to fight against painful symptoms
What is false:
– the alkaline diet does not affect the pH of the whole body (vaginal, blood, gastric one, etc.) because our body, fortunately, is equipped with all the necessary processes to maintain its acid-base balance, regardless of our diet
– the pH of the urine cannot be changed to the point of eliminating bacteria
=> it is absolutely false to believe that we can get rid of a urinary infection simply by changing what we eat! The pH of the urine cannot kill bacteria (otherwise it would kill us too!)
Tip # 2 : drink plenty of water
What are we talking about? 1 liter, 2, 5? And then when should I drink water (do I have to get up at night to do it)?
What is TRUE:
– an average adult should drink 1.5 liters of water per day. Suddenly, drinking “a lot” means exceeding this intake
– drinking “a lot” means above all drinking “frequently”. Therefore, it is mainly about drinking throughout the day to get a total of 2 to 3 liters of water
– increased hydration inevitably increases the volume of urine produced which will result in dilution of the urine. More dilute urine means less acidic!
=> this tip also aims to reduce pain associated with irritation of the mucous membrane
What is false:
– polydipsia (= excessive consumption of liquids) is a dangerous practice for various reasons (renal overload, weight gain, fluid retention, edema, hydroelectric disorders, etc.). So, it is recommended not to exceed 10 liters of water per day
– pathogenic bacteria responsible for urinary tract infection have the ability to “stick” to the bladder wall (thanks to their famous small “hooks”). Urinating liters of water can never “remove” them
=> excessive consumption of water, therefore, does not eliminate bacteria responsible for cystitis
Tip # 3: empty the bladder completely with each urination
This is excellent advice, but it’s still not enough to get rid of urinary tract infection. It is true that letting urine “stagnate” in the bladder provides bacteria with the ideal conditions to multiply faster. In addition, the urine that remains in the bladder for a long time is more concentrated. Therefore, we obtain a more concentrated, more acidic urine with a significant bacterial load -> more attacks on the mucosa and suddenly more pain, need to urinate and urinary frequency
=> empty the bladder completely each time once again reduces symptoms but does not kill bacteria
This short (unpretentious) “presentation” is to help you to understand why the advice doctors often give is always associated with antibiotic treatment:
– tips like drinking a lot, urinating well, eating “alkaline”, etc. serve to reduce pain and other symptoms
– antibiotics kill bacteria that cause urinary tract infection
However, there is another solution to get rid of bacteria without antibiotics!
This is about my personal experience. A few years ago, I was able to get rid of my cystitis without antibiotics: the doctor told me about D-Mannose. This natural sugar is able to prevent bacteria from “sticking” to the bladder wall. In this way, bacteria are suspended in the urine and are therefore expelled from the bladder by urinating naturally.