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!