Probiotics are “friendly bacteria” used to decrease bacterial virulence and improve bowel health. If you are on antibiotics, which often destroy the good bacteria, probiotics can restore the natural balance to the gut. Yogurts such as Activa are good for bowel health but do not contain enough of the good bacteria to aid in urinary tract health.
A good probiotic should contain between 8-10 billion organisms. Some brands to recommend are: Culturelle, HLC by Pharmax, Pharmanex ProBio PCC Live Probiotics, and NSI Lactobacillus Rhamnosus daily probiotic.
Cranberry juice (100% juice, low sugar–Trader Joe’s has an excellent juice) 6 oz. a day or cranberry extract 500 mg daily have been shown to prevent bacterial adherence to the bladder wall allowing it to be flushed from the body. The acidity of the juice also aids in decreasing the pH of the urine making it a less friendly environment in which the bacteria can live.
D-Mannose is a simple sugar found naturally in cranberry and pineapple juice. However, it is 10 times more active than the sugar found in cranberry juice in dislodging the bacteria from the urinary tract. Its chemical structure is such that it adheres to the bacteria more tenaciously than the bacteria adhere to human cells causing the bacteria to become “unglued” from the urinary tract and to be flushed out of the body.
D-mannose comes in either powder or tablet form and can be found at many health food stores, specialized pharmacies, or Super Supplements. To prevent UTI’s, use 1 tsp. (or 2 tablets or 2 scoops) daily mixed in milk, water, yogurt, non-citrus juice, or taken plain with meals or between meals.
If you are on antibiotics for a UTI, you may increase the dosage to 3-4 times a day.
If you think you might be getting an infection, take 1 tsp. every 2 hrs. the first day of symptoms; day 2 take 1 tsp. every 3 hrs.; days 3, 4,and 5 take 1 tsp. every 4 hrs.; day 6 take 1 tsp. 3 times a day; day 7take 1 tsp. 2 times per day; day 8 return to using 1 tsp. per day.
Note: D-Mannose is most effective with E. coli (85-90% the cause of recurrent UTI’s) and a few other organisms found in the urinary tract. If you continue having symptoms after using D-Mannose for 2-3days or if you are prone to UTI’s from multiple organisms, it is important to identify the organism and receive proper treatment with an antibiotic.
Many women find it helpful to take 1 tsp. powder 45-60 minutes before sexual intercourse with a full glass of water then again 45-60 minutes after intercourse. The full glass of water will assure that you have enough urine in your bladder to flush out any bacteria when you urinate after intercourse.
Vitamin C improves the pH of the urine creating an unfriendly environment for bacteria. The dosage is 500 mg chewed 3-4 times a day; any chewable vitamin C will work. However, if you have a history of kidney stones, do not use the vitamin C without talking to your doctor.
It is important to drink 48-64 oz. (1-2 liters) of water throughout the day so that you are urinating regularly every 3-4 hours to flush out any toxins, including bacteria. A simple solution to make that provides electrolytes to the body and improves kidney filtration and detoxification is: 1 liter of water 1/4 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp. SEA salt (not table salt) 2 TBS raw sugar, maple syrup, or agave syrup. Shake well, store 2-3 days in the refrigerator, and drink 1-2 8-12 oz. glasses a day; drink more if you are exercising heavily.
Daily Perineal Care
Every day using a hand-held shower or a peri bottle, gently wash the vaginal area with your hand using plain water or a very mild soap, rinse thoroughly, and pat dry. If you have a tendency to frequent and/or loose stools, use the peri bottle after each bowel movement.