Cystitis is an infectioncystitis of the bladder and can take several forms. Acute Cystitis (also known as uncomplicated urinary tract infection; acute urinary tract infection (UTI); acute bladder infection) is a bacterial infection of the bladder and lower urinary tract. Acute Urethral Syndrome (also known as abacterial cystitis; radiation cystitis; chemical cystitis) is an irritation of the bladder that has not been caused by a urinary tract infection. It can be caused by radiation to the pelvic area, chemotherapy with certain types of medications or other irritants. Then there is also Recurrent Cystitis (also known as Cystitis – recurrent; Urinary tract infection – recurrent; UTI – recurrent) which is characterized by at least two infections of the bladder in six months, or three in one year, marked by painful or burning urination, urinary frequency and urgency, and occasionally blood in the urine. It is confirmed by demonstration of the growth of bacteria in the urine.

The symptoms in all three cases are similar and can include pressure in the lower pelvis; painful urination (dysuria); frequent need to urinate; urgent need to urinate; need to urinate at night (nocturia); abnormal urine color (cloudy); blood in the urine (hematuria); foul or strong urine odour. Additional symptoms that may be associated with cystitis include pain during sexual intercourse; penis pain (rare); flank pain; fatigue; fever; chills; nausea and/or vomiting; mental changes or confusion. Often in an elderly person, mental changes or confusion are the only signs of a possible urinary tract infection.

Cystitis occurs when the normally sterile lower urinary tract (urethra and bladder) is infected by bacteria and becomes irritated and inflamed. It is very common, occurring in more than 6 million Americans a year. The condition frequently affects sexually active women ages 20 to 50 but may also occur in those who are not sexually active or in young girls. Older adults are also at high risk for developing cystitis, with the incidence in the elderly being much higher than in younger people.

Cystitis is rare in males. Females are more prone to the development of cystitis because of their relatively shorter urethra — bacteria do not have to travel as far to enter the bladder — and because of the relatively short distance between the opening of the urethra and the anus.

More than 85% of cases of cystitis are caused by Escherichia coli, a bacterium found in the lower gastrointestinal tract. Sexual intercourse can increase the risk of cystitis because bacteria can be introduced into the bladder through the urethra during sexual activity. Once bacteria enter the bladder, they normally are removed through urination. When bacteria multiply faster than they are removed by urination, infection results. Antibiotics are generally prescribed by the medical profession for the treatment of cystitis.

Both as a preventative measure and to encourage healing one should always empty one’s bladder when you first get the urge. Also drink plenty of water 8 – 10 glasses daily. Herbal teas such as fennel, yarrow, golden seal etc. may also be helpful however do review any contra-indications with respect to the use of specific herbal teas. Hygiene too is very important both for prevention and treatment of cystitis and avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing and wear natural fibres where possible.

Essential oils can certainly assist in minimizing the discomfort of this condition as well as speeding up the recovery time. They may also be helpful in preventing reoccurrences of the condition. There are several ways in which to use essential oils for cystitis. It is generally more effective to make up a blend of essential oils rather than to just use one single oil. You can choose the one that most appeals to you or use a combination:

Sitz Bath/Hip Bath – Fill a basin large enough to sit in with the lower portion of the body covered to hip level with warm water. Add 5 –7 drops of essential oil blend, swish through the water. Sit and soak in this for 10 – 15 minutes. Two to three times a day.  Remember that essential oils do not dissolve in water so add an equal number of drops of emulsifier, or if you don’t have an emulsifier add an equal number of drops of liquid soap to disperse the essential oil droplets through the water.

Warm Compresses over the lower back – Fill a basin with warm water and add 4 – 6 drops of essential oil blend, swish through the water. Wipe cloth over the surface of the water and wring out any excess. Apply to the lower back. Repeat as the cloth cools. Do this from around 2 – 3 minutes several times a day.

Massage cream, lotion or oil – Add 15 – 20 drops of essential oil blend to 30ml (1 oz) of your chosen carrier. This can be a body lotion, cream or carrier oil like sweet almond, grapeseed, olive oil etc. Apply over lower back, thighs and pelvis two to three times a day.

Essential oils to consider for cystitis include:

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) – has antiseptic properties
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) – has antiseptic properties and is a powerful disinfectant and helpful in cases of repeated attacks of cystitis

Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) – has diuretic properties
Chamomile, German (Matricaria recutita) – has bactericidal properties
Cypress(Cupressus sempervirens) – has good diuretic properties
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) – has antiseptic properties
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare ) – has good diuretic properties
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) – has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis – has good diuretic properties
Lavender ( Lavendula angustifolia) – has good anti-bacterial properties and is a gentle calming oil
Niaouli (Melaleuca quinquinervia CT cineole) – Good anti-bacterial properties
Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii) – Excellent anti-bacterial properties
Pine (Pinus sylvestris) – has diuretic and anti-inflammatory antiseptic properties
Sandalwood (Santalum album) – has anti-bacterial properties and diuretic properties
Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia ) – good anti-bacterial properties
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) – Excellent anti-bacterial properties and diuretic properties

Please make sure that you take into consideration any possible contraindications such as pregnancy with the oils used.

Blends For Cystitis

Blend 1 Blend 2 Blend 3 Blend 4
3 drops of Bergamot 1 drop of G. Chamomile 4 drops of Bergamot 3 drops of Cypress
3 drops of Cypress 6 drops of Lavender 3 drops of Lavender 1 drop of Pine
1 drop of Palmarosa 3 drops of Sandalwood 1 drop of Palmarosa 1 drop of Tea Tree

Back to the Article Archives Index for more articles like this.