Meet Dr. Payal Bhandari

4 min read

Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D.

Dr. Payal Bhandari, M.D. is a leading practitioner of integrative functional medicine and the founder of SF Advanced Health. She combines the best in Western and Eastern medicine to define the root cause of illness. She received her undergraduate degree in biology and Doctor of Medicine degree from West Virginia University. Dr. Bhandari completed her Family Medicine residency from the University of Massachusetts in Worcester, Massachusetts. In 2013 Dr. Bhandari launched San Francisco's top integrative medical center focused on bringing together the best holistic practitioners.

Meet Dr. Payal Bhandari, Uqora Medical Advisor

Dr. Payal Bhandari brings a unique perspective to Uqora's medical advisory board thanks to her passion and expertise in integrative functional medicine.

Here, get to know more about her approach to managing and treating UTIs:

What is your approach to treating UTIs?

In today’s medical system it is extremely common for antibiotics to be started the moment a person has any symptoms of a UTI. The problem is antibiotics are not benign medications and are associated with many side effects, most importantly hurting the immune system and increasing a person’s risk for future infections, like recurrent UTIs. There are a handful of ways you can support your natural defenses against urinary tract infections. During the first 24 hours of developing UTI symptoms you can consider trying the following:

  • Apply the tincture Barberry root bark with a clean cotton ball to the urethra every day until the symptoms resolve.
  • During the time you are trying to fight off a bladder infection make sure to avoid sugar, processed and pre-packaged ready-made items, caffeine, alcohol, dairy products, red meat, fish, and other animal protein, corn, and wheat.
  • If the UTI symptoms do not improve within 24 hour, it is critical that you contact your doctor. At this point antibiotics may be the first line treatment. The duration of antibiotic use may vary from 1 to 7 days depending on the severity of the UTI and a person’s medical history.

    It is critical to avoid super acidic items such as alcohol, sugar, processed food, red meat, etc. Focus on having fresh plant-based alkaline food rich in nutrients which help strengthen the immune system. This includes all green vegetables, beans, ancient whole grains (not flour; quinoa, amaranth, millet, sorghum), and mushrooms. Get lots of rest and de-stress.

Specializing in integrative functional medicine, Dr. Payal's methods are rooted in diet, lifestyle practices and holistic practices.

Would treatment look different for people who deal with recurrent UTIs than for people who have only ever experienced one or a couple? How?

While 1 in 2 women will get a UTI in their lifetime, about 1 in 5 will experience recurring UTIs. Again, this is often because the bacteria that caused the initial UTI finds a home in the urinary tract and waits for an opportune moment to re-attack and proliferate. Uqora Target is a pink lemonade-flavored drink mix meant to be consumed after major risk occasions – right after sex or a rigorous exercise class. It contains D-Mannose to occupy the bacteria as well as vitamins to boost the immune system, and a gentle diuretic to flush bacteria from the system. Uqora effectively helps strengthen the bladder's immune system and flush out bad bacteria.

In order to prevent and treat recurrent UTIs, it is critical to flush the urinary tract with tons of water and shift to an alkaline diet. You want to avoid taking multiple rounds of antibiotics since they kill all of the good bacteria within the body, and hence, further compromise the immune system and set one up for many other health issues (ie., vaginal infections, digestive problems, mood shifts).

Does diet affect our risk of a UTI?

When the natural acidity level of the bladder increases, unhealthy bacteria normally in the bladder have the opportunity to overgrow. Under various circumstances, this bacterial overgrowth can lead to a bladder infection. The following foods directly increase the bladder’s acidity level and allow unhealthy bacteria to overgrow, and should try and be avoided:

  • Sugar. Sugar is in just about everything. You can find sugar in most processed and pre-packaged ready-made items like dry cereal, granola or protein bars, chips, crackers, condiments (like ketchup, soy sauce, mustard, mayonnaise, and salad dressings). Sugar is in fruit snacks, dried fruit, ready-to-eat dry or frozen meals, baked goods, sweets, bread, candy, sweet drinks like fruit juice, Vitamin Water, Gatorade, and soda. Sugar is also maple syrup, agave, honey, high-fructose corn syrup, and cane sugar.
  • Artificial sweeteners are labelled as the sugar-free alternative. Some examples include Aspartame, saccharin, sucralose (i.e., Splenda), acesulfame potassium.  
  • Alcohol
  • Red meat and all dairy products
  • Caffeine (i.e. coffee, chocolate, hot chocolate). Caffeine decreases the blood flow to the bladder which causes the immune system to have difficulty in shutting down a bladder infection.
  • Heavy meals at night which contain animal protein like eggs, dairy, poultry, fish, or meat will increase the blood and bladder’s acidity level.
  • Corn and corn fed animals and fish. Corn has been extensively hybridized causing the body to no longer be able to properly digest it. It can quickly hurt the body’s natural balance of the microbiome and lead to increased acidity in the blood and bladder.
  • An excess or regular intake of potatoes, sweet potatoes, wheat, and white rice since they break down to sugar and help feed the unhealthy bacteria.

Learn more about Dr. Payal

Connect with Dr. Payal and her practice, SF Advanced Health, in San Francisco, CA here.


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