Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder that can occur with or without a bacterial infection. The symptoms of cystitis can include burning or stinging when passing urine or after urination, a constant feeling of needing to pass urine and abdominal discomfort or pain. Many women have suffered from cystitis at some point in their lives, but for nearly half a million women in the UK, cystitis can occur very frequently and some women suffer from it all the time (chronic cystitis, also known as interstitial cystitis).
Although not life-threatening, chronic cystitis certainly threatens the quality of life; sufferers can be depressed and isolated and feel at times that their whole life revolves around the condition.
There is no go-to medical treatment that will cure cystitis for good but some people find that avoiding certain foods (for example highly acidic foods like citrus fruit, or spices and chocolate) helps, as does passing urine immediately after sex.
Acupuncture has also been demonstrated to have a role in helping cystitis sufferers. A recent investigation from a Norwegian research team shows that acupuncture can be useful in preventing attacks among chronic cystitis sufferers. A British study in 2010 concluded that “acupuncture can be more effective than Western medicine in the treatment of interstitial cystitis. Acupuncture is successful not only in treating the physical symptoms of interstitial cystitis, but also at improving the patient’s emotional state”.
Acupuncturists also know from their own clinical experience that many women can be helped with acupuncture, and if you’re among the estimated 400,000 women in the UK who suffer with this chronic condition, it really is worth speaking to your local acupuncturist. It’s also worth checking out the Cystitis and Over Active Bladder Foundation for more information www.cob.org.