Drink plenty of liquids, especially cranberry juice (see under Herbs, above). Drink at least one 8-ounce glass of quality water every hour. This is extremely beneficial for urinary tract infections. Steam-distilled water is preferable to tap water.

Include celery, parsley, and watermelon in your diet. These foods act as natural diuretics and cleansers. Celery and parsley juice or extract can be purchased at a health food store or made fresh at home if you have a juicer.

Avoid citrus fruits these produce alkaline urine that encourages bacterial growth. Increasing the acid content in urine inhibits the growth of bacteria.

Stay away from alcohol, caffeine, carbonated beverages, coffee, chocolate, refined or processed foods, and simple sugars. Chemicals in food, drugs, and impure water have an adverse effect on the bladder.

Perform a one-to three-day cleansing fast.

Take 2 teaspoonfuls of whey powder or 2 acidophilus tablets or capsules with each meal. This is especially important if antibiotic therapy is required.

Take a twenty-minute hot sitz bath help to relieve the pain associated with cystitis. Batherapy, a product that can be found in health food stores, is excellent. Or you can add one cup of vinegar to a sitz bath (or to shallow bath water) once a day. A woman should position her knees up and apart so that the water can enter the vagina. Alternate this with a bath made with two cloves of crushed garlic or an equivalent amount of garlic juice.

Use acidophilus douches as recommended under nutrients, above. If cystitis is associated with vaginitis, alternate this with apple cider vinegar douches.

Avoid taking excess zinc and iron supplements until healed. Taking over 100 mg of zinc daily can depress the immune system bacteria require iron for growth. If a bacterial infection is present, the body stores iron in the liver, spleen, and bone marrow in order to prevent further growth of the bacteria.

Do not delay emptying the bladder. Making sure that you urinate every two to three waking hours “voiding by the clock” can help.

Keep the genital and anal areas clean and dry. Women should wipe from front to back after emptying the bladder or bowels, should empty the bladder before and after exercise and sexual intercourse, and wash the vagina after intercourse.

Wear white cotton underwear nylon underwear should be avoided.

Change into dry clothes as soon as possible after swimming avoid sitting around in a wet bathing suit.

Do not use ‘feminine hygiene sprays,” packaged douches, bubble baths, or tampons, sanitary pads, or toilet paper containing fragrance. The chemicals these products contain are potentially irritation.

If you suffer from frequent urinary tract infections, use sanitary pads rather than tampons .

If urination is painful but bacteria cannot be cultured by the laboratory, discontinue use of all types of soaps and use only water to cleanse the vaginal area. Some people are sensitive to soap; an all- natural soap from a health food store is recommended.

If there is blood in the urine, consult your health care provider. This can be a sign of a more serious problem that warrants medical attention