Urinary tract infections are among the most common bacterial infections in humans.1 The risk of contracting a bladder infection (cystitis) is particularly high in the cold season because the mucous membranes – not only in the mouth and nose but also in the genital area – are more susceptible to hypothermia and dryness. In addition, the immune system is usually weaker in the autumn and winter months. Dry mucous membranes in the genital area facilitate their colonisation with viruses and bacteria, which in turn can lead to cystitis. This is most frequently triggered by E.coli bacteria, which account for about 80 percent of all urinary tract infections.2 In combination with a weakened immune system, the risk of bladder infection also increases. Women are also more prone to cystitis than men because their urethra is shorter, which makes it easier for pathogens to enter the urinary tract.3
Bladder infection: Recognising the symptoms
The first signs of minor bladder infections are usually pain and a burning sensation, more difficult urination and a frequent urge to urinate, whereby urine output usually remains rather low. A painful bladder, which may even include cramps, and changes in urine colour or odour, can also indicate cystitis. If the infection extends to the genital tract, women may experience increased discharge. An infection may also extend to and cause pain in the ovaries. In men, on the other hand, bladder infections can painfully affect the prostate, vas deferens or epididymis. An infection extending to the kidneys causes pain in the lower back. Very important: If cystitis is accompanied by blood in the urine, a doctor should be consulted immediately.
What to do against bladder infections?
Drinking sufficient fluids and keeping your body warm during the colder season is an important aspect of preventing bladder infections. Ensure that your feet and pelvic area are kept warm, for example with thick socks, tights or longer jackets that extend over the hips. You should also avoid sitting on cold surfaces outside such as benches or walls. In addition, a healthy, vitamin-rich diet can support the immune system and therefore avert bladder infections. Patients who are more prone to recurrent cystitis can drink bladder and kidney teas to flush the urinary tract as a precautionary measure.
Bladder infection = antibiotics? Not necessarily! In this case it is good to know that half of the uncomplicated lower urinary tract infections do heal spontaneously. You should therefore first attempt to treat them with non-antibiotic measures.2 These include the preventive measures recommended as well as the use of phytotherapeutics, such as real goldenrod. The Aristo Pharma portfolio includes suitable remedies containing herbal ingredients, such as Harntee Steiner®, Solidago Steiner® Lösung (solution) or Solidago Steiner® Tabletten (tablets). These can help to flush the urinary tract in the event of bladder infection and therefore eliminate the pathogens.
1 Foxman B. Epidemiology of urinary tract infections: incidence, morbidity, and economic costs. Am J Med 2002; 113 Suppl 1A: 5S–13S
2 Münst J et al. Akute und rezidivierende Harnwegsinfekte der Frau in der allgemeinmedizinischen Praxis. Ther Umsch 2018; 75: S. 547–552
3 Foxman B. Urinary tract infection syndromes: occurrence, recurrence, bacteriology, risk factors, and disease burden. Infect Dis Clin North Am 2014; 28: 1–3