Q: Please suggest some non-medical measures to control bladder infection.
A: It is not just medications or management of pain alone that can bring you relief from bladder infection [interstitial cystitis], which most often affects women [90 per cent]. It would help you greatly if you augmented your treatment plan with the following self-help tips —
- What you eat may often be the trigger. The best thing to do is to eat the right type of food and follow a diet regimen that is balanced. Simple reason — it has been found that certain foods can contribute to bladder irritation and inflammation. Examples: alcohol, tomatoes, spices, chocolate, coffee, caffeinated and citrus beverages and high-acid foods. Keep away from them, and you will be able to bring down your symptoms significantly. Other foods you’d do well to skip are canned cheese, yogurt, onion, monosodium glutamate [MSG], aspartame [artificial sweeteners], nuts and smoked foods
- Maintain a bladder diary on a daily basis. Record urination times, symptoms, response to food, exercise, medications etc., A daily record will help you keep a register of what helps your symptoms, and what doesn’t
- Eat four small meals during the course of the day. Avoid large meals
- Do rebounding exercises on a mini-trampoline, or low-impact aerobics, walking, yoga, and t’ai chi
- If your symptoms are not intense, you may do swimming, jogging, weight training, and cycling.
- Try to reduce stress through basic relaxation techniques, meditation, self-hypnosis and/or listening to soft, soulful music
- Get a soothing massage. Or, use a heating pad or cold pack on your bottom. Or, take a warm sitz bath. Find out what suits you well over a period of time, and use it with good effect
- Cotton undergarments are ideal clothing. Also, opt for loose-fitting clothes such as baggy pants, shorts, or skirts.
- Avoid the use of belts and other types of clothing that put pressure on your waist and below.
Note: While a cure for interstitial cystitis is still a far cry, it is ironical that doctors are not sure as to what causes the problem in the first place. This explains why the condition has prompted a good deal of research interest in the medical fraternity. This has also resulted in a host of treatment protocols available to break the symptoms, and get on with normal activity and/or day-to-day life.
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