June 2015

Three cases of recurrent cystitis

by Tricia Curtis

These cases present a picture of a little known remedy with a vast potential in the treatment of cystitis. The analysis has not been made in the traditional manner of repertorisation, but rather through comparing the patients’ profiles to that of the tree, Populus tremuloides, homeopathically known for the treatment of cystitis. 

Case 1

Mrs. D, fifty-seven-year-old; chronic cystitis

She has had frequent cystitis ever since childhood. At age ten, a pocket was diagnosed in her bladder; she also has one undersized kidney (left) and one normal kidney. She suffers from hypertension.   She was operated on the pocket in her bladder, which reduced the cystitis for some time. Then, the cystitis began to recur more and more frequently. During the past years, she had almost annual flare-ups of cystitis; more recently, they have occurred once every six weeks or so, for which she has been given antibiotics, sometimes for three months at a time.

She has had a hysterectomy at age fifty-one, and now has hot flushes. 

She describes herself as a very sporty person: she has a gym at home, practices Pilates; she loves to play golf, badminton, walk and cycle. She wears a back brace due to a back problem.  She loves the outdoors and the fresh air. Her life revolves around family and sports. She is happily married and has three sons, all of whom are also sporty. She and her husband worked hard, bought at house and settled down, renovating houses and renting them out. Recently, she and her husband have sold their rental houses and now spend much of their time travelling the world in their camper van, reaping the benefits of all their hard work. She has friends all over the world and she loves to see how other people live.  She loves the sea and has always lived close to it.

She describes herself as happy and contented. She and her husband spend almost all their time together and are happy in each other’s company. Her main focus is around her children: “If they are happy, I am happy.” She is not concerned about saving the world or marching for a cause, just about coming back home to her family and looking after them.

At the time of the first appointment, another bladder infection was beginning. Her bladder felt swollen and sore, with a constant urge to urinate, though she was only passing a few drops. The pain is worse at night; a pain that goes through her whole body like a nerve pain, enough to make her grind her teeth and her eyes water. It is a heavy, dragging down sensation in her belly. She often has a headache with the bladder infection, and a high fever.

Prescription: Populus tremuloides 200C once every two weeks, twice, then once per month for several months.

Follow up after five weeks: the bladder infection diminished shortly after the initial dose, with no need for antibiotics. She did not have a recurrence of cystitis until a year later, when there was a slight recurrence while travelling in Europe, where she became run down. She now self-medicates with a dose of Populus tremuloides on the rare occasion when she experiences a swollen feeling in her bladder coming on. Her blood pressure has normalised after the remedy.

Follow up four years: she is still well.

Case 2

Fifty-year-old woman; chronic cystitis

Mrs. E. has been having bouts of cystitis ever since she was nineteen years old. These past years, she has had cystitis up to three times per year, and twice within the last two months. She has been feeling “not quite in order” for the past year, with the continual feeling that another cystitis could recur at any time. Last year, she was given two courses of antibiotics for bronchitis. She is menopausal, and suffers from hot flushes.

Concerning her family background, she talks about being well brought-up by a strict mother, who died when the patient was seventeen years old.  She met her husband while travelling overseas, then returned to New Zealand, settled down and had three sons. She describes her married life as happy; she and her husband love bringing up the boys together, instilling good work ethics in them. She describes her husband as “wonderful”: “We have a really good relationship; we have our ‘time out’ together. I love it, it’s very important. We enjoy travelling and holidaying together.”

They all worked hard and built up a family together. They are now at a stage in life where they can do what they want to do. “I can’t just sit at home, I have to do something.” She describes herself as a very busy person. She works as a real estate agent, motivated by earning money for the family. “My job helped us to get to where we are today.” She enjoys meeting people via her work, and many of her clients have become friends.

She fears losing her children or dying young like her mother. “I would hate to lose my husband after thirty-one years together, I would be devastated.”

A major stress for the two of them is their son’s relationship, with a woman fifteen years older than himself.

“I’m not a deep thinker, I’m a shallow thinker. My husband analyses, I don’t. I just take the top off.”

She is very sporty. She runs half marathons and has made many friends that way. “It keeps me fit, gives me space and free time, and keeps my brain in synch. But I don’t have energy for running these days.”

“I’m not a happy person these days, the way I used to be when I would laugh and enjoy; I feel weighed down. Recently, I wet the bed while in a deep sleep.”

Prescription: Populus tremuloides 200C, three doses in close succession

Follow-up after 4 weeks: “Bladder has been great, no feeling of recurrence.

I’m running again and feeling brighter. I’ve become much more relaxed about my son’s relationship.”

Follow up after four years: still no recurrence of cystitis.

Case 3

Fifty-two-year-old woman; sister of the previous patient; chronic cystitis

Mrs. T. has been having bouts of cystitis ever since she was sixteen years old, up to three or four times per year. The longest interval with no cystitis was five years. During the past nine months, she has had three courses of antibiotics due to cystitis. It often comes on after sexual intercourse or in busy, stressful periods. She then wakes up with a burning sensation in her bladder, after which a bladder infection quickly ensues. She is presently at the beginning of menopause.

She was fifteen years old when her mother died. At that time, she felt displaced when her father quickly remarried, moving all the new family into their house; she moved out and left school early. She has always done menial work, picking fruit or working in garden centres, “nothing stressful”. “I’ve always fitted in with the family.”

She has been married for over thirty years. “I’m great mates with my husband, that’s the most important thing for me. He’s very supportive. I love this part of my life; it couldn’t be better. Our kids are happy. I love life and hope it continues this way.”

She does volunteer work for nature conservation; nature and trees are important to her. She loves being outside, tramping in the bush. “I like to keep things uncomplicated, I’m hands-on creative. I’m a real home-maker: I love bottling, preserving, gardening. I’ve been a good daughter-in-law for years but I can never win. I’m so dutiful. I’m honest and genuine, I object to hypocrites. I like to just do the right thing.”

She felt rejected by her son when he left home. Her most precious memory is of his birth.

Prescription: Populus tremuloides 200C weekly, then monthly for a few months, then as required. Some intercurrent doses of Carcinosinum helped her to stay on track and maintain faith in the treatment.

Follow up: improvement started the day after the remedy and has continued steadily since then. For some time, she still tended to feel anxious around the possibility of cystitis, feeling nervous and worked up, with a racing heart at the slightest sign of recurrence. Tension such as anticipation before a new job in her volunteer work would bring on a state of apprehension and anxiety and an awareness of her bladder. She felt vulnerable, as though she could become ill at any time. In the course of time, and some repeats of the remedy as needed, both the cystitis and the anxiety diminished. She now begins to realise that she might have been a ‘control freak’ in the past. 

Follow up four years: she has had only one mild recurrence of cystitis in the first year, and none since then. She has been treated successfully with other remedies for other complaints, with no recurrence of the bladder symptoms.

Materia medica
Populus tremuloides is also known as quaking aspen or trembling aspen, due to the way its leaves tremble in the slightest breeze. This tree has an interesting root system: it grows in large groves, propagated through the roots from one single rhizome. They thus form a shallow, densely woven root system. Homeopathically, the main symptoms concern cystitis. 

Here, we see the resemblance with these patients: the very close family ties, the desire to do everything together with the family and the despair if the family unit is somehow disturbed. There is a desire to work hard for the benefit of the family, with a strong ethical and moral dimension, and a concern for nature, though not for the world at large or for spiritual matters. Like the shallow root system, the people do not delve deeply into life, nor do they feel the need to analyse things; they are of a more practical bent, hands on. Remaining close together seems to overcome an anxiety, as seen in the trembling leaves. This anxiety is often reflected in the form of bladder infections at any sign of tension.

In Bach Flower Essences, Populus tremuloides is given for lack of trust and self-confidence, fear of the unknown, vague anxiety and apprehension, hidden fears, nightmares. Embarrassment, fear to make mistakes. Ailments from feeling incompetent for one’s job, having no overview, bad planning. In these patients, it would seem that this anxiety is largely compensated by a strong, supportive relationship and strong family ties.

Bladder complaints: Bladder catarrh, < old people; < operations, < pregnancy; cystitis, severe ineffectual straining, painful scalding, pain behind pubis, < end of urination; urine mucous, pus; obstruction of urine due to prostatitis; renal weakness.

Although the remedy had not been found by using Jan Scholten’s Plant theory, it is fascinating to see how well it corresponds. In the system, Populus tremuloides has the code number 644.35.10. The first three numbers refer to the main focus of the person and they bring us to the class and subclass of plants.  644 corresponds to the Iron series of the periodic table, and has roughly the same field of action: a focus on creating a solid family and working environment. The action radius is the immediate community, not the world at large. The fourth and fifth numbers correspond to the way the person experiences this setting; they bring us to the order and the family of the plant concerned. Here, the combination of 3 and 5 denote a tension between feeling insecure, 3, and a desire to expand, to enjoy life to the fullest, 5, which we clearly see in these patients. The last number, 10, corresponds to the stage of the periodic table, and brings us to the specific plant. Often the large trees find themselves at this stage, which is central.  For further explanation of Plant theory, see Interhomeopathy April 2014.

Photos: Shutterstock
Aspen trees in fall; Don Mammoser
Senior couple with grandchildren; Monkey Business Images


Keywords: cystitis, hypertension, hysterectomy, hot flushes, bladder infection, sporty, tension, anticipation, apprehension, anxiety, Scholten’s Plant theory
Remedies: Populus tremuloides


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Antonia Maks
Posts: 3
Cystitis cases
Reply #3 on : Thu September 17, 2015, 16:16:53
Dear Tricia,
Was really interested to read your case. Had a case of a woman in her late sixties with life long cystitis and a history of lots of antibiotics. As the cystitis came around the time of her first period and got considerably worse with the menopause, i gave Folliculinum 10M, 1M, 200, 30, 12 and 9 , taken at about 5 minutes intervals. Worked instantaneously. Also at some point gave Penicillinum 10M, 1M,200,30. As I am not in the UK at the moment and do not have access to my casenotes i cannot go into more detail. But my lady has exactly the same family set up and interests and worrries as in your cases so i will look at her case and at populus tremuloides as soon as i get home. Thanks!
Jane Radford
Posts: 3
Woven root system
Reply #2 on : Thu June 11, 2015, 21:23:01
Hi Tricia, When I read the description of the root system immediately thought of the muscle layers of the bladder which are so arranged to enable expansion of the organ's walls.
Lovely article. Thank you
Doug Brown
Posts: 3
Large groves, shallow roots
Reply #1 on : Fri June 05, 2015, 04:47:26
Tricia, these 3 wonderful cases and your insightful comments with regards to signature aspects of the Aspen have made an impression in my brain which hopefully will persevere...many thanks!