Cystitis, or bladder infection accompanied by inflammation, is not a rare case for women but it can be prevented – says Dr. Alberto Saita, Urologist at Humanitas – by following recommendations that apply to women of all ages. In particular, menopause and the end of the fertile period are accompanied by an increase in the risk of cystitis. Hormonal changes affecting bacterial flora, reduced urethra tone and more frequent urine leaks make the woman more vulnerable to bacterial contamination that causes cystitis. In general, however, due to the anatomical conformation of the uro-genital apparatus, i.e. the urethra is shorter in women than in men, the bacteria present in the terminal part of the intestine, close to the anus, or in the vagina, are able to go up towards the urethra and bladder again and more easily, and for this reason cystitis is more frequent in women.
What to do to prevent it?
In order to avoid cystitis, which often goes hand in hand with difficulties and pain at urination, (burning when urinating) but can also occur with fever, it is important for all women to:
Empty the bladder completely every time you feel the need to urinate.
Maintain good hydration: in the acute phase, when the cystitis presents with difficulty in urination accompanied by pain as an irritating stimulus, it is better to balance the supply of water; in recurrent cystitis, i.e. in infections occurring every two or three months in young women, it is important to drink a lot of water to dilute the bacterial concentration in the bladder.
Follow a diet rich in fibers: it helps to avoid constipation and reduce the presence of bacteria in the intestine.
Empty the bladder before and after sexual intercourse
Take care of intimate hygiene
Avoid drinking a lot of water at once: it is better to drink normal amounts frequently
Drink herbal teas: chamomile and mauve have a soothing effect
Avoid alcohol, sweetened and carbonated beverages
Prefer fruit juices without sugar, as well as soups and stews. Cranberry juice helps with hydration and supports drug therapy for bacterial infections.
However, for menopausal women, in addition to general advice that applies to all women, it is possible to prevent cystitis by increasing the body’s defenses against the rise of bacteria from the urethra to the bladder. For this purpose, the application of ointments with locally acting estrogens can help and improve the tone of the tissues around the urethra.