The first time I had chronic bladder inflammation, I thought it was a urinary tract infection, affectionately known as a “UTI.” I had had this a couple of times and made an appointment to see my doctor. Meanwhile, I started chugging cranberry juice and popped a couple of extra vitamin Cs to help my body fight the infection until I started on antibiotics. Bad choice. As it turned out, my bladder wasn’t infected, it was just irritated, and consuming acids only made it worse! While cranberry juice and other acids help to keep the urinary tract free of infection, they can make things much worse if your problem is interstitial cystitis, AKA, a chronically inflamed bladder. In my case, the lining of my bladder and lower urinary tract became so inflamed that even the mild acidity of normal urine prevented it from healing, and caused a painful burning with each visit to the ladies’ room. Eating tomato or citrus resulted in excruciating pain. And the doctor’s solution—some kind of over-the-counter anesthetic that was also a brown dye—didn’t help at all. So I turned to the Internet. Uva Ursi & Juniper Berry for Cystitis This all happened in 2001, before I knew I had Lyme, and it was my first-ever experience at self-treating with herbs. By the time I was done seeing the doctor, getting tests, trying useless anesthetic-brown-dye prescriptions and attempting, in vain, to ignore my cystitis, I had been suffering with this problem for close to 8 months. I went on an Internet-research binge and learned that two herbs—uva ursi and juniper berry—have been used traditionally for centuries to heal all kinds of urinary tract disorders. I bought both, took my first dose and, half an hour later… ahhhh, sweet relief! Zero burn. And zero side effects! Here’s what healed me: I took two capsules of each herb, four times a day: upon waking, before lunch, before dinner, and again before bed. I wasn’t super-precise about it, so long as I was fairly regular—if I missed a dose, I would feel it! The capsules were around 500mg each, so that was about 1000mg of juniper berry and 1000mg of uva ursi per dose. I also avoided orange juice and tomato sauce for a while, and increased my water intake somewhat. The urge was to resist drinking water since bathroom trips were so punishing, but the herbs helped with this and I made sure to keep things nice and dilute with plenty of spring water. I was completely cured of my chronic cystitis and able to discontinue the herbs and dietary restrictions in about two months. I might have healed faster, but I missed a lot of doses in the beginning and I think the burning that resulted would undo the progress I had made, sending me back to square one.
Nature’s Way offers both uva ursi and juniper berries and is a good brand.
Oh, and there was one more tool in my kit—an over-the-counter product called Prelief—that also aided my recovery. Prelief cancels out the acidity of foods when taken at mealtime. I didn’t care about not being able to eat citrus, but after a few months, I got a hankering for pizza. I found that if I took Prelief together with the pizza, I wouldn’t relapse. Once I forgot, though—and oh, did I pay for it.
Let us know in the comments if these help your chronic cystitis!