Should cystitis drugs for women be available without a prescription?

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | Bladder | Thursday, August 11, 2016 - 01:00 PM

prescriptionShould cystitis drugs for women be available without a prescription? The study published in The BMJ says, yes. The researchers suggest, making cystitis treatment prescription-free could save three million scarce doctor appointments a year.

Cystitis is an acute uncomplicated urinary tract infection affecting nearly half of women at least once throughout their lifetime. Treatment for cystitis is quite simple – a quick round of the nitrofurantoin antibiotic.

Dr. Kyle Knox said, “Therefore, in an era of ready access to information, increasing patient autonomy, and overstretched primary care services, it would seem a good idea for women to be able to access safe and effective treatment without the costs and delays associated with consulting a clinician to obtain a prescription.”

“A change in the regulations that govern access to nitrofurantoin would be worthwhile only if it was taken up by women seeking treatment,” Dr. Knox wrote.

Managing cystitis in women

Treating cystitis is as simple as a short course of antibiotics, but the experience itself can be quite painful, so you may want to prevent it at all costs. Here are some natural tips to prevent a urinary tract infection.

  • Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water in order to promote urination and expel bacteria.
  • Don’t hold in your urine.
  • After a bowel movement, wipe front to back in order to discourage bacterial movement from the rectum into the urethra.
  • Take showers as opposed to baths.
  • Gently wash skin around the vagina and anus – do not use harsh soap or scrub vigorously.
  • Empty your bladder as soon as possible after intercourse.
  • Avoid the use of scented deodorants and scented feminine hygiene products near the genitals.

You may also want to keep the following in mind to lower your risk of cystitis.

Proper food handling

E. coli bacteria are estimated to be the cause of more than 80 percent of all bladder infections.  And chicken meat is a carrier of a particularly nasty E. coli strain that is resistant to antibiotic treatment. You can get this antibiotic-resistant bacteria from your meal, which can result in a very difficult-to-treat bladder infection, or an infection that seems to go away but then keeps on coming back. To ensure all bacteria are completely killed before your food makes its way to your plate, practice a proper and thorough food handling protocol every time you’re cooking.

Baking soda

Add a teaspoon of baking soda to one cup of cold water and drink up. High in alkaline, baking soda can help to reduce the acidity of your urine.  The acidity of your urine causes the painful burning sensation associated with bladder infections, so when you reduce the acidity, you can also reduce the pain and the frequent urges to urinate. Excessive acidity also encourages infections to grow and proliferate, so drinking baking soda may help to prevent and treat bladder infections, too.

Uva ursi

Uva ursi (also known as bearberry) is an herb that can be made into a tea.  Drinking it can help to restore bladder health and may even help put an end to chronic bladder infections. Uva ursi is helpful for two reasons. First off, it has diuretic properties, which help to flush out the kidneys. Secondly, it contains a compound called arbutin, which is converted in the body into another compound, hydroquinone. Hydroquinone has antiseptic properties that may help kill off E. coli bacteria. The compound is thought to be most effective as an antiseptic when it is taken in an alkaline environment, so combining it with the baking soda drink may help increase your results.

Diet changes

A healthy bladder will not be a good host for E. coli bacteria. Removing added sugars, alcohol, and refined foods from your diet will go a long way towards improving your bladder health. You should also consume plenty of raw fruits and vegetables. This will help prevent your body from becoming overly acidic and will encourage a healthy immune system, enabling your body to fight off the bladder infection. Be sure to drink plenty of water as well. This will ensure that your bladder is constantly being flushed out, so that bacteria won’t have a chance to adhere and proliferate on your bladder walls.

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