A shocking 50-60% of women will get a urinary tract infection (UTI) in their lifetime. The tough thing with UTIs (and what makes them so annoying!) is you generally don’t just get one. In fact, approximately 20-30% of women who get them will have a recurrence (3 or more in 12 months or at least 2 in 6 months) throughout their lifetime. The good news is,the research on how to prevent and get rid of a UTI, naturally, is promising.
UTIs are generally caused by bacteria getting into the urinary tract - the most common one being E. Coli. Some of the risk factors for developing a UTI include having frequent sex, wiping the wrong way, the use of spermicides, having a mother who had a lot of UTIs, and even the shape of the urinary tract. Due to hormonal changes, they’re also more common during pregnancy and in postmenopausal women.
UTI treatment usually entails a prescription for antibiotics. While antibiotics will typically kill the bacteria that caused the UTI, they may also kill the bacteria that help prevent against the recurrence of UTIs, leading to you getting more down the road. Recurrent use of antibiotics can also disrupt a healthy gut flora and lead to digestive issues as well as antibiotic resistance. More and more research suggests that alteration of the normal vaginal and gut flora, especially loss of lactobacilli bacteria, may predispose some women to recurrent UTIs.
Probiotics are generally only thought of as aiding the digestive system, but probiotics are located all over and inside the human body, including the vagina. Like in the digestive system, they can provide the first line of defence against a bacterial infection.
Genuine Health’s advanced gut health probiotic women's daily is specifically designed to support women’s gut, vaginal, skin and immune health. It contains a combination of 15 probiotic strains, which can protect women’s vaginal health against bacteria that lead to UTIs.
Several of the strains in the Genuine Health advanced gut health probiotic women’s daily are of the lactobacilli family. Studies have found that specific strains of lactobacilli, including the rhamnosus and fermentum strains (both found in Genuine Health’s women’s probiotic), when taken orally, will stay in the vagina and colonize it. Other studies on pediatric populations have found these strains to be effective in reducing the rate of UTIs, compared to the placebo group. Among the four randomized controlled trials involving treatment of UTI with the lactobacillus probiotic, one reported a 73 percent reduction in episodes of recurrent UTI compared with the previous year (6 UTIs per patient per year vs.1.3 UTIs per patient per year after administration of probiotics). The other three randomized controlled trials used different probiotic strains and small study groups.
D-mannose is a sugar that the body doesn’t digest, so it passes through the body and is excreted. When it passes through the urinary tract it attaches to bacteria and prevents them from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract. There is a great deal of research on the effectiveness of D-mannose. In one randomized controlled trial on women with a history of recurrent UTIs, the study found that of the 103 women given 2g of D-mannose for six months, the rate of recurrent UTIs was only 15%, compared to 20% of the 103 women given antibiotic treatment, and 60% of the women who did not receive treatment.
Like so many health issues, there’s also a dietary link. One study examined the link between urine acidity and risk for UTIs. The researchers found that individuals with more alkaline urine are better able to resist bacteria that cause UTIs. Urine acidity or alkalinity can be influenced by the bacterial makeup of your gut (one more reason to supplement with probiotics and eat fermented foods!) as well as diet.For this reason, acidic foods for the bladder, like citrus, tomatoes and caffeine containing foods can make symptoms worse, and should be avoided if you have a UTI or had one recently.
Cranberry juice is probably the first thing your mother or grandmother told you to drink if you developed a UTI growing up. Cranberry is like D-mannose in that it doesn’t have an antimicrobial effect, but the chemicals in cranberry extract prevent the adhesion of E. Coli bacteria to the urinary lining, and therefore prevents their colonization and a subsequent infection. Genuine Health’s advanced gut health probiotic women's daily uses a super potent whole organic cranberry extract called CRAN Naturelle® , which is standardized to proanthocyanidins (PACs). If you are wondering what PACs are, they're the bioactive components in cranberry fruit that have been linked to improved urinary tract health, oral health and gut health. Cranberry PACs have actually also been linked to decreased risk of chronic systemic inflammatory diseases such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis.
Because CRAN Naturelle® is produced from whole cranberry fruit and is not a selective extract, it contains both soluble and insoluble PACs. Insoluble PACs are a newly discovered class of compounds in cranberry. The combination of CRAN Naturelle® with the probiotic provides a super concentrated source of both soluble and insoluble cranberry PACs plus 15 probiotic strains into just one capsule.
Always consult with your health care practitioner first, before self-treating any infection or illness.That being said, if you’re someone who gets recurrent UTIs or has had a UTI recently, and you’ve been taking antibiotics, it’s worth exploring if there’s something in your lifestyle or diet that is creating this imbalance. Natural preventive measures, like the Genuine Health Advanced Gut Health Probiotic Women’s UTI may be most effective when used holistically and in conjunction with one another. Though they are often more time consuming, unlike many conventional approaches they may be better suited to address the root cause of the problem and offer a more long-term solution.
This article was written in partnership with Genuine Health. All opinions are my own.