Thursday, 22 January 2015

Curing cystitis naturally in pregnancy.



Since early December I was plagued with recurrent/constant cystitis. I'm not prone to urinary tract infections, so this came out of the blue. Any of you who suffer will know the agony, the sleepless nights, the cold sweats, the hell of it all. I spent most of the Christmas season in bed so I could easily get to the bathroom. It was so bad that one day I went to the ER of my maternity hospital, and I've had 2 visits to my GP. Anyone who knows me knows I wouldn't visit a doctor unless I was in dire need, that's how bad it was.

Being pregnant (think this is the first time I've mentioned it on my blog!) and wary of medications at the best of times, I treated it naturally, despite being urged to take an antibiotic and have finally kicked it, after about 7 weeks of big dietary changes. (The antibiotic was Nitrofurantoin which I found studies had shown it linked to birth defects. No matter that my baby is "fully formed" now in the second trimester, nor how rare a complication may be, I still know that medications in pregnancy can have a lasting effect on babies teeth and health, see here to get started researching for yourself).

I'm going to list the 10 changes I made in no particular order, in the hopes that some of you may get inspiration, or relief. It'll also be handy for me to refer to in case (touch wood) it ever returns.

1. D mannose - a supplement highly recommended online, it's a sugar concentrate which does the work of cranberries at a higher concentration. Gave me short-term relief, cost a fortune.

2. Unsweetened organic cranberry juice. Tastes like vinegar and had me gagging. Again, short-term relief and expensive.

3. Water. As in drinking 3-4 litres a day. I'm not a lover of cold drinks in cold weather, but this was great for keeping the urine flowing, flushing out the bacteria, and minimal cost!

4. Vitamin C 1,000 mg a day. Inexpensive and supports immune system while I recover.

5. Probiotic. I had Acidophilus 2 billion, take 2 a day. Unsure of benefits but can't hurt. Cost depends on brand.

6. Topical application of coconut oil mixed with lavender to vulva, relieved burning for a few days, then aggravated it.

7. 1/4 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate in glass of water. Never got much relief from this. It's supposed to alkalise the urine and stop the burning.

8. Barley water. Homemade by boiling washed barley in water, straining and drinking hot or cold with a little lemon and honey for taste. Fantastic remedy, gave great relief, inexpensive.

9. Homeopathic remedies. I self-prescribed and got minimal relief from 2 or 3 remedies, until at rock bottom I made an appointment with my homeopath and she prescribed a remedy that has cleared the cystitis for good. Expensive but worth it.

10. But the biggest change was to my diet, and I think any amount of homeopathy/supplements wouldn't have worked in the toxic set-up I had going. I had been eating sugars, both refined and natural (honey, fruit, maple syrup) every day, creating an ideal breeding ground for illness. I realise now how sugar-sensitive I am. Once I was ill I cut down hugely but it wasn't until I cut it out that I saw any progress. It was my first Christmas without desserts, chocolates etc, pretty hard for a sugar addict, but the motivation to get well outweighed my cravings. Just two days ago I caved and ate a Milky Way that had been in my handbag for ages. Apart from finding it too sweet to really enjoy, within 15 minutes I found myself wanting a nap and feeling pain in both hip joints as I walked. Since cutting out sugar I've been sleeping better, no aches and pains, and my moods have been positive. The first couple of weeks were hard, I had thumping withdrawal headaches, but I feel my natural energy has returned and I never want to go back to that toxic state. I'm also making better food choices all-round, more homemade foods, less processed, less carbs and more vegetables.

Not saying I'll never enjoy a slice of cake again, but it'll be a real treat, not just a habit.

Anyway I hope this helps someone out there. If you would like to add any other tips in the comments please do!

Nee x

16 comments:

  1. Huge congratulations on your pregnancy, Niamh. I am glad to hear you are feeling better!

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    1. Thanks a million! Yes, it's a relief to be pain-free!
      N x

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  2. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!! What lovely lovely news. And so sorry to hear about the cystitis. I was a sufferer in my 20's - strangely never when pg - and I agree. It is a miserable hell to be in. Feel better soon. I hope you and your gorgeous menfolk are all well. Congrats to you all. How exciting!

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    1. Thanks Gwendy, we're all excited here. Sorry to hear you suffered cystitis too, it seems to be a really hard one to shake. Hope your gang are well too, Nee x

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  3. Try concentrated blueberries juice will help too. My mom suffers from infections very often and that help her to prevent them.
    Congrasts for you baby on the way!

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    1. Thanks, that's one I hadn't heard of before. Blueberries must have similar properties to cranberries then. Great your mom has found a natural remedy that suits her. Thanks for the well-wishes Maria,
      Nee x

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  4. Congratulations! Super news! Hope you remain well and healthy. That is shocking that you felt an instant reaction to a milky way bar.

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    1. Thanks a mill Etta! Yes, it's crazy how it affected me so quickly, I'd previously have been able to eat 3 or 4 without any obvious issues. I think it shows how the cleaner your body is, the more the junk affects you. It'll be a good reminder to me to stay on the healthy path! Nee x

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  5. Congratulation on your pregnancy and wishing you continued good health!

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    1. Thanks Anon! For reading and taking the time to comment, it always makes my day! Niamh x

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  6. Congratulations on your pregnancy Niamh, exciting times ahead!

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    1. Hi Clio, thanks a million, yes, very exciting! Nee x

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  7. Congratulations on your pregnancy Niamh, keep well. I really enjoy your blog, Nora.

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    1. Thank you Nora, great to hear you enjoy reading my blog!
      Niamh x

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  8. Hi Niamh, congratulations on your pregnancy!! Glad you are feeling better. I went through a time when I kept getting cystitis (not when pregnant thankfully) and my gp advised me to make sure I was fully voiding my bladder. Basically wait for a small while when you've finished and you will find you may need to go again straight away. It cleared it up for me. Never get it now. Well done on kicking the sugar. I'm going to try to do that too. So much temptation.

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  9. Congratulations on your pregnancy, you'll be kept going but you're well able by the looks of things. Well done on cutting out the sugar, esp at Christmas time! I'm another sugar monster who finds it a constant battle, not just for myself but even more importantly for my three kiddies. Good to hear you are feeling better.x

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