Urinary tract infections (UTIs) work their way into our lives at the most inconvenient times. But is there ever really a “good” time for a UTI? No, there isn’t. That’s why we’re getting ahead of UTIs with prevention.
50-60% of women will get a UTI in their lifetime, and 26-44 % of them will have a recurring UTI within 6 months. The only way to treat a UTI is with antibiotics from your doctor. You can get ahead of that hassle and pain by taking vitamins and probiotics for uti prevention for a holistic approach. Part of natural UTI prevention means taking probiotics: beneficial, living, bacteria that re-colonize your urinary tract.
Probiotics can help restore healthy vaginal microbiomes to inhibit the growth of fungi that cause yeast infections, and pathogens that cause bacterial vaginosis. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common infection in women of childbearing age. Given that UTIs are also commonplace, it’s important to know that these two infections are related.
A 2017 study from Washington University School of Medicine discovered a trigger for recurrent UTIs: a type of bacteria that lives in the vagina that causes BV. This bacteria, Gardnerella vaginalis (G.vaginalis), can travel from the vagina to the urinary tract and trigger E.coli that was hiding in the bladder, undetected, from a previous UTI. G.vaginalis damages cells on the bladder surface, and causes E.coli (the main UTI culprit) to multiply.
So what does this have to do with BV? BV is caused by the overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the vagina-- mainly G. vaginalis. Taking probiotics to avoid BV indicates probiotics for urinary tract infections are effective as well. We’ll expand on more research below.
If probiotics help prevent yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis, could probiotics for UTI work? To this day, people consider urine sterile because it’s been filtered through your kidneys. However, there’s now proof that urine is not sterile. Scientists discovered over 450 types of bacteria in people with healthy bladders. People with UTIs had over 600! A healthy vaginal microflora is a harmonious balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria, and now research is starting to view the bladder in a similar light.
Probiotic capsules are full of living, beneficial, bacteria. Feminine probiotics are strains of Lactobacilli because a healthy vaginal microbiome is mainly characterized by a high amount of Lactobacilli. When you consume a probiotic capsule, it’s ingested, then excreted out of your anus. These microbes make their way to and colonize your anus, vulva, perineum, vagina, and urethra. We do not fully know the mechanisms Lactobacillus- based probiotics utilize to prevent UTIs, but the research is promising.Dr. Ann Stapleton, professor of medicine at the University of Washington tells LiveScience, “Maybe [the vaginal lactobacilli] kill off E. coli, or maybe they exist in much higher numbers and stop them from attaching to cells that line the vagina… Or, they may inhibit growth of E. coli." Dr. Stapleton’s study also found that right before patients got a UTI, lactobacilli are gone from the vagina. "That's what suggests that replenishing them might stop a urinary tract infection from happening again."
Vaginal microflora is primarily colonized the Lactobacillus genus. Lactobacilli are effective at keeping your vaginal pH between 3.8 and 4.5. It’s a moderately acidic environment with antimicrobial properties to keep “bad” bacteria in check. Probiotics eat glycogen (sugars) found in vaginal mucus and convert them to amino acid, which has an antimicrobial effect. You can maintain levels of beneficial bacteria by taking a daily probiotic.
The best probiotic for UTI prevention are the strains Lactobacillus reuteri and Lactobacillus rhamnosus. A 2006 scientific review of research about probiotics and recurrent UTIs states, “Lactobacillus rhamnosus and L. reuteri (previously called L. fermentum) seemed to be the most effective among the studied lactobacilli for the prevention of UTIs.”
Scientists believe that the lactobacillus probiotics for urinary tract infections are successful in reducing recurring UTIs. A 2016 study found that oral capsules containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri in postmenopausal women are favorable when preventing UTIs.
Furthermore, researchers suggest that inserting these strains into the vagina via pessary, or via an oral capsule is an effective way to boost Lactobacillus levels. This inhibits UTI causing pathogens from dominating the urogenital microflora.
A 2006 review of evidence from microbiological and clinical studies found that L. reuteri and L. rhamnosus were the most effective of the studied lactobacilli for probiotics for urinary tract infection prevention.
Urinary tract infections are incredibly common, even though they aren’t talked about very much. Management and prevention for UTIs vary from antibiotics to natural remedies, but there are also probiotics for UTIs that you should be aware of.
A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is an infection caused by the bacteria known as E. coli which travel through the urinary tract. This can come from the urine itself or from bacteria passed from the rectum or vagina into the urethra. This often affects the bladder, urethra, ureters, and kidneys.
Women are more likely to have UTIs than men, due to a shorter urethra for bacteria to travel through. It is estimated that half of women will have a UTI at some point during their life. On top of that, many of those women may also have recurrent UTIs.
There are many symptoms associated with a UTI and it’s important for you to be aware of them. Probiotics for UTI may help treat and prevent common symptoms listed here as a reference:
Probiotics are considered the good kind of bacteria. These can be found naturally in the intestines, urinary tract and vagina. They help balance pH levels, digest food, absorb nutrients and fight against harmful pathogens. All that hard work can be put in jeopardy by the dangerous bacteria.
To add probiotics for urinary tract infections to your diet, consider eating yogurts, cheeses and some other dairy products that contain the good bacteria. There is also the option to take probiotic supplements in the form of pills and drinks. Taking these can boost your immune system by promoting the production of more good bacteria in your body.
The most prevalent treatment option for a UTI is antibiotics. Doctors often provide a prescription that can last up to a week and you should take every dose even if symptoms have disappeared. However, as effective as antibiotics can be, the human body can also build up immunity to them, especially in the case of recurrent UTIs. That’s not to say that you should ignore your doctor’s advice.
Instead, consider adding supplements or preventative measures to your healthcare routine. There is a range of natural remedies for you to choose from, such as drinking unsweetened cranberry juice or taking the best probiotic for UTI. Other treatment options and preventative measures include the following:
If left untreated, the infection can spread to through your kidneys and into your bloodstream, causing sepsis. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of the symptoms and begin treatment as soon as possible.
Besides boosting the immune system and aiding in digestion, probiotics can also help with genitourinary tract health. The Lactobacillus genus bacterium is known for balancing pH levels and keeping the genitourinary tract healthy. Therefore, researchers conclude that a Lactobacillus probiotic may be the best probiotic for UTI treatment for treating and preventing recurrent UTIs.
While a probiotic is not a replacement for medical treatment, it can help maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria in your body. In turn, this can increase your genitourinary flora for better health and help fight against bacteria that cause UTIs.
Your urinary tract health is important. If you have the symptoms of a UTI or suffer from recurrent infections, add probiotics to your diet. Speak to your doctor today about the best probiotic for UTI treatment so you can get your genitourinary health back on track.