One question I have been asked lately is how to prevent recurring urinary tract infections and urinary fullness and frequency. I think at this point we’re all aware of the age-old wisdom and precautionary measures of urinating after sexual intercourse and wiping front to back, but one piece is still missing. For all you out there who are religiously following these measures but are still suffering from UTIs (urinary tract infections) and urinary frequency and fullness, I am offering another piece of advice. Go natural and use a food-based supplement instead. The best supplement for UTIs and urinary frequency is a combination of cranberry and d-mannose.
The combination of cranberry and d-mannose has been a life saver for so many people, especially women out there who have been forced to rely on a series of antibiotics and pain killers. For all of us who have suffered from a UTI, we know the pain and discomfort and NEVER EVER ever ever want to experience it again.
So why not just take antibiotics?
Antibiotics not only kill the bad bacteria, but they also kill the good bacteria as well. This good bacteria, which reside in the intestinal tract, is essential for a strong immune system and a positive mental state, and for keeping your digestion on tract. If you suffer from inadequate levels of healthy gut bacteria (which occurs from antibiotic use), you are more vulnerable to getting sick, and to feeling anxious and moody. In addition, not having a healthy store of good bacteria leads to digestive disorders such as Candida infections, bloating, constipation, poor absorption, nutrient deficiencies and leaky gut. That is why we must find alternative methods to taking antibiotics whenever possible.
Another reason to start using natural methods for UTIs is that the efficacy of antibiotics is decreasing. Research is showing a decline in the effectiveness of antibiotics for treating UTIs since E.coli is becoming more and more antibiotic resistant.
What is a urinary tract infection?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a condition where one or more parts of the urinary system (the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra) become infected. The majority of urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria that multiply at the opening of the urethra and make their way up to the bladder. In more rare cases, the bacteria spreads to the kidney from the bloodstream.
Uncomplicated UTIs, which are the most prevalent form of UTIs, are caused by a bacteria called E.coli. These are the UTIs that most commonly affect women. In these cases, E.coli attaches itself to the urinary tract epithelial cells (in the bladder wall), invading the host cells and causing an infection.
*While there are more complicated forms of urinary tract infections that involve other organisms, I am only focusing on the uncomplicated form since E.coli causes the vast majority of cases.
Why cranberry helps with UTIs (urinary tract infections) and urinary frequency
Cranberry extract has been proven to prevent the bacteria E.coli from adhering to the bladder wall, thus having anti-adherence capabilities. This mechanism stops an infection from occurring while also reducing the progression of the UTI. In addition, it is proposed that cranberry enhances the acidity of the urine, increasing the health of the urinary tract ecology. One study also suggested the potential for cranberry to interact with lectin receptors and for maintaining a healthy bladder wall.
Why should I take a cranberry supplement instead of drinking cranberry juice?
Cranberry extract provides urinary tract support without the unwanted sugar found in cranberry juice or juice cocktails. Sugar is known to encourage the growth of unfriendly bacteria, such as the bacteria E.coli, which is the cause of the urinary tract infection.
Why d-Mannose helps with UTIs (urinary tract infections) and urinary frequency
d-Mannose is a simple sugar that is found in cranberries and other fruit. When paired with cranberry it greatly increases its efficacy. One study examining the effect of d-mannose on epithelial cells suggested that it may play a role in supporting healthy genitourinary function by maintaining a healthy mucosal surface. d-Mannose has also been found to work for treating acute UTIs, for prophylaxis in women prone to recurrent infections or for the prevention of post-intercourse UTIs.
Dr. Wright, a pioneer in the use of d-Mannose explains “Unfortunately for the E. coli, D-mannose ‘sticks’ to E. coli lectins even better than E. coli lectins ‘stick’ to human cells. When we take a large quantity of D-mannose, almost all of it spills into the urine through our kidneys, literally ‘coating’ any E.coli present so they can no longer ‘stick’ to the inside walls of the bladder and urinary tract. The E. coli are literally rinsed away with normal urination.”
My product recommendation:
I only like to recommend high-quality, professional grade supplements that are free of excipients, fillers and other allergenic substances like soy and corn. Furthermore, I only recommend powder-filled vegetable capsules, since they are easily absorbed and utilized by the body. I never recommend tablets since they are highly heated (damaging its nutrients) and are processed with toxic glues. The product that I personally use and have found to be very effective is Cranberry/d-Mannose by Pure Encapsulations. There are many products out there, so if you are going to choose another brand, just do your homework. Check out my series of articles on supplements to further guide you on how to shop for them.
How long should I take it?
If you are experiencing recurring UTIs (urinary tract infections), urinary fullness and frequency, then I would take this supplement as a preventative, not only as a treatment agent. Cranberry and d-Mannose work to prevent the bacteria that causes UTIs from attaching itself to the urinary tract, making it most potent BEFORE the infection occurs. Therefore, even if the infection is gone, continue taking the product for a few months or so until you can be certain that you are no longer stuck inside the viscous cycle of infection.
Resistant Cases and Relapses:
In more resistant and chronic cases it might be necessary to add additional antimicrobial agents into the program. A couple helpful ones are Oil of Oregano, and Oregon Grape Root. If a biofilm has developed, then the active form of garlic (allicin) is the best adjunct therapy to the Cranberry and d-Mannose. I have found the product called Allicidin by Premier Research Labs to be the most efficacious.
Bacterial biofilms play an important role in some types of urinary tract infections (UTIs), responsible for persistence infections that do not clear, causing relapses. A biofilm is a community of bacteria that attach themselves to a tissue surface, like the bladder, and excrete a sticky, sugary substance that encompasses the bacteria in a matrix. Once in this matrix, the bacteria become highly resistant to antibiotics and the body’s innate immune defenses. They are able to communicate with each other, making biofilm infections very difficult to clear.
In cases of urinary tract infections that become resistant to treatment, or are constantly recurring, it can be necessary to break up the biofilms in order to clear the infection permanently. This is where a product like Allicidin would come in. The Allicidin (allicin) would help to break up the biofilm, and then the use of the cranberry and d-Mannose would help to clear the bacteria that is now exposed.
I do hope that this post has provided you with some guidance and future release. As always, please consult with your MD before starting any new supplement program. Also, feel free to share your experience with natural treatments for UTIs and urinary frequency.
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Lauren, The Holy Kale