Cystitis is an infection of the lower urinary tract and more specifically of the bladder. It can be categorized as complicated or simple, the latter referring to infection of the lower urinary tract. In the case of complicated infection, however, it is associated with risk factors present in the subject such as: lifestyle, eating habits, level of hygiene, sexual activity and anatomical aspect. We will try to understand together what causes cystitis, what to eat and what not to avoid it.
WHY DO I GET CYSTITIS?
Acute cystitis is usually caused by a bacterial bladder infection. Due to their anatomical features, women are more prone to infections of this type, as they have a short urethral tract length. The E. Coli bacterium is responsible for the infection in 75% and 95% of cases, followed in order by the bacterial type: Klebsiella, Staphylococcus and Enterococcus.
Approximately 1/3 of women will experience cystitis before the age of 24, some studies have verified that the incidence of this type of infection is normally caused by these factors:
- sexual activity
- use of spermicides
- new sexual partners
- family history
- post menopause
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE CYSTITIS?
Cystitis usually develops due to colonization of the urethral mucosa by bacteria from the fecal or vaginal flora. These ascend via pseudopodia and flagella to the bladder, causing the following symptoms:
- increased urinary frequency as a form of protection to eliminate bacteria;
- pain when urinating;
- pain in the touch of the lower abdomen area;
- presence of blood in the urine or fever based on severity;
- change in the smell of urine and its transparency, usually if very opaque indicates the presence of mucus and bacteria in large quantities.
The best thing to do in these cases is an early morning urinalysis immediately in order to verify the actual infection and its severity. The laboratory will be able after about 24 hours to provide you with a diagnosis of the type of bacterium that has infected your urethral tract, also indicating the possible sensitivity to different antibiotics, so as to allow your GP to prescribe the correct antibiotic therapy to solve the situation as soon as possible.
WHAT TO EAT AND WHAT NOT TO IF I HAVE CYSTITIS
The nutritional principle to follow during an attack of cystitis is not to aggravate the pH of the urine with a too aggressive and acidic diet. It is therefore essential to introduce foods that facilitate urination, to help the body eliminate bacteria and support the mucous membranes in the inflammatory process. In general, the diet must be rich in liquids, therefore water and vegetables, because if we intervene immediately our body can eliminate the excess bacteria that cause cystitis and our strong immune system will be able to get by thanks to a healthy diet. But be careful, if the symptoms last for more than two days we do a urinalysis to start the diagnostic procedures and start the treatment.
Here is a list of recommended foods:
- forest fruits especially blueberries, cranberries, apples, pears, melons and plums
- asparagus, avocado, cucumbers, beans, peppers, Tropea onion, garlic, artichokes, celery, spinach and chard
- rice and barley.
Finally, it is essential to drink water in large quantities, even with chamomile or herbal tea of berries and nettle.
It is important to know that cystitis can be largely prevented by using a diet devoid of all precooked or processed foods, because they can contain monosodium glutamate and added sugars that facilitate the proliferation of bacteria. A diet that completely avoids added simple sugars is essential as a starting point.
What foods to avoid if you have cystitis:
- lemons, orange, grapes, pineapple, kiwi
- chilli, pepper, onions, sauerkraut, tomatoes
- aged cheese, yoghurt and dairy products in general as the calcium content can help bacteria adhere to the mucous membranes
- red meats, chicken, pork, tuna and salmon
- alcohol, coffee, soda, tea, tomato juice
THE PERFECT MENU IF YOU HAVE CYSTITIS
As we have seen, cystitis is an infection that if neglected can lead to serious consequences of the reproductive system with chronic inflammation. Nutrition plays a fundamental role during the first days but also and above all a preventive role. Let's see together a possible daily menu to be able to better manage the symptoms of cystitis.
- Breakfast: herbal tea made from nettle, walnuts and almonds with some toasted rye bread with coconut oil and honey. We also prepare two liters of water with two scoops of cranberry juice to drink during the morning.
- Lunch: Mixed salad with fennel, cucumber, radicchio, carrots, avocado and beans as a protein source.
- Snack : walnuts and apple.
- Dinner : vegetable puree without potatoes with a plate of sole with parsley and garlic, a natural antibacterial disinfectant.