Cystitis is an inflammation of the bladder that causes burning and discomfort during urination. This condition is usually not harmful and can be treated at home using sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda. Sodium bicarbonate reduces the acid level in your urine, allowing it to pass more easily. Cystitis usually resolves itself using this home remedy in three to five days.
Cystitis is caused by an infection in the urinal tract. It mainly affects women, although men and children can also contract cystitis. According to Bupa, a private health insurance company in the UK, one out of every three women will have a cystitis infection before the age of 24. Cystitis is caused by bacteria in the urine and is usually not harmful. However, some of the symptoms resemble symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases, so women who are sexually active may wish to see a doctor to rule out this possibility.
Burning Sensation and Sodium Bicarbonate
Cystitis sufferers often have to urinate more often than normal and experience a burning sensation while doing so. Both Bupa and BBC Health say that sodium bicarbonate can help relieve the burning sensation. Sodium bicarbonate is a base, which means that it neutralises acids. When ingested orally, it acts to lower the acid level in urine. Acidic content can cause the inflamed bladder to burn when it comes in contact with urine.
How to Take Sodium Bicarbonate
BBC Health recommends dissolving a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate in a cup (8 fluid ounces) of water at least once a day. Drink the mixture completely. You can also purchase over-the-counter remedies containing sodium bicarbonate and follow the directions on the package.
Other Home Remedies
Sodium bicarbonate's purpose is to relieve discomfort while urinating. There are several other over-the-counter remedies that can be used in conjunction with sodium bicarbonate in order to relieve cystitis symptoms or kill bacteria. Bupa recommends taking an over-the-counter painkiller in addition to sodium bicarbonate, while BBC Health suggests drinking cranberry juice to flush out your system.
When to See a Doctor
If taking sodium bicarbonate does not help improve symptoms within 24 to 48 hours, you may want to see a doctor. According to Bupa, you should also see a doctor if you have never had a bout of cystitis before to rule out more serious problems. Bupa also says that men and children infected with cystitis should always visit their doctor because the condition is much rarer in these populations.